SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR MEDICAL LASER THERAPY

The use of laser in therapy and healing has been in existence for more than 50 years. Research is quickly progressing in identifying conditions that can be treated and in therapy laser technology. 

 

From WebMD:

"Pros of Cold Laser Therapy for Knee Pain
Cold laser therapy has been shown to relieve mild to moderate OA knee pain, as well as improve sensitivity to pressure and joint flexibility.

  • Cold laser therapy may also:

  • Open up blood vessels to ease swelling

  • Help your immune system create more chemicals that heal tissue

  • Build more connective tissue in your knee

  • Trigger endorphins, natural hormones that ease pain

 

Nondrug alternative. Cold laser therapy is a drug-free alternative to opioids for knee pain. Opioids can be highly addictive when used for chronic pain, and they can cause side effects like constipation, nausea, or drowsiness.

Noninvasive. Cold laser therapy doesn’t cut into your skin to treat knee pain, so it isn’t invasive like surgery.

Few side effects. Cold laser therapy for knee pain has no side effects.

Cons of Cold Laser Therapy for Knee Pain
Results from cold laser therapy may vary, depending on the cause of your knee pain, any other health conditions you have, or the exact laser treatment or device used. There’s no standard cold laser therapy dose or approach, so results can vary.

Some doctors are skeptical about cold laser therapy and may not recommend it. In the past, it wasn’t clear how light changes damaged tissues. Many doctors felt cold laser therapy was a sham. As new research proves that it does relieve pain, more doctors are in favor of it.

Setup has to be exact. For cold laser therapy to be work, your doctor or technician must adjust the light dose, intensity, frequency, position, and length of treatment. If any of these is off, it may not work at all.

Over-the-counter options may not work. Although you can buy a laser device online to use at home, it isn’t a good idea. The tool may be safe, but you need to be trained to use it correctly or it won’t ease your pain.

Cost. Cold laser therapy could drain your wallet. One treatment session could cost up to $200. You might need up to 30 sessions to get the full benefits. Some insurance policies may not cover cold laser therapy."

 

At Montana Laser and Medical Center, we know exactly how to set up our state-of-the-art lasers to benefit your condition, using settings and techniques from Laser Therapy Institute. We have answered the questions of dose, intensity, wavelength, and time to ensure fastest possible results. We also accept insurance to help with the out of pocket cost, and have money-saving discounts available as well. 

 

Many published studies refer to laser therapy using the technical term photobiomodulation, or PBM. Other studies refer to the use of laser as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), cold laser, or High-Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT). Some studies are performed with isolated live tissue samples, some use animals, and some are performed on human subjects.

In the following sample list, there are links to the actual studies, as well as a brief description of the findings. There are hundreds more studies not listed here. This page and its content should not be interpreted as claims for curing, treating, diagnosing, vaccinating, or testing for any condition.

Opioid Addiction

Laser therapy over the brain has been used to reduce opioid cravings in a study that reported it "was an effective and safe treatment for opioid cravings as well as for depression and anxiety."

Osteoarthritis

The journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine presents evidence that laser can have great results in chronic conditions. "Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common chronic disorder. [Laser therapy] significantly reduced pain and ring size and increased range of motion after five and seven treatments... The effects achieved after seven sessions persisted for 8 weeks."

Bells_Palsy_edited

Lasers in Medical Science has reported in 2014 and 2020 that high-intensity and low-level laser therapy is an effective modality for the recovery of patients with Bell's Palsy, even for diabetic patients.

Cancer Care

Laser therapy has beneficial effects for cancer patients, including as "a preventative and therapeutic option" for oral mucositis, radiodermatitis, hyposalivation, lymphoedema, and neuropathy.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine is reporting that high-intensity "LASER improved both positive and negative sensory symptoms" and was "better than TENS in improving both pain and paraesthesia" in patients suffering carpal tunnel symptoms.

Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

"Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect" of cancer treatment. A 2018 review concluded that laser therapy is the only evidence-based non-drug treatment.

Migraine Treatment

A 2018 study compared Botox injections and laser therapy for chronic migraine pain. They found that both treatments are equally effective at controlling pain, reducing medication use, and reducing sleep disturbance.

Concussion

More is being learned about the harmful, life-changing effects of concussions, including "cognitive dysfunction, progressive irritability, suicidal ideation, and dementia." This is an injury that can occur in sports participation or even in a bad fall. In this study cited by Harvard-MIT, laser therapy is recommended for treatment. Another study reports "One exposure to a near-IR laser four hours after a head trauma significantly improves neurological performance and reduces lesion size."

Diabetic Ulcers

Open wounds heal more slowly in diabetics, but wound healing in general can be challenging. This study, using a K-Laser, reports that "findings indicate that laser therapy delivered by a class IV laser can significantly impact the healing process" for those who have had failed conventional treatments.

Diabetic Neuropathy

In this study, laser therapy is said to be "an effective modality for improving nerve conduction, redistributing foot plantar pressures and relieving pain of painful diabetic polyneuropathy patients."

Fibromyalgia

Researchers report "that laser therapy is effective on pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point number in fibromyalgia and suggests that this therapy method is a safe and effective way of treatment in the cases with fibromyalgia." Additionally, "None of the participants reported any side effects."

High-power vs Low-power Laser Therapy

We utilize the fastest, most effective laser technologies available today. The treatments we perform are different from low-level/cold/Class III therapies available at other clinics, since we use a Class IV high-power laser. This study supports the improved results of high-intensity laser over low-level laser for knee pain.

Hypothyroid Disease

New studies on laser therapy and low thyroid function showed that laser "promotes the improvement of thyroid function." Every participant needed less medication at long-term follow-up, and nearly half the test subjects no longer needed any levothyroxine treatment following the conclusion of the study.

Knee Pain

Knee pain that is caused by osteoarthritis is a leading cause of surgical joint replacement. Research reports that laser therapy can eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for knee replacement surgery, and that "low level laser therapy should be incorporated into standard conservative treatment protocol for symptomatic knee arthritis."

Low Back Pain

This report states that "higher laser dose interventions" yield good results for relief of chronic, non-specific low back pain.

Lung Inflammation

Inflammation is an essential component of many lung diseases, including asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and granulomatous lung diseases. Laser therapy "is able to reduce inflammatory reaction in lungs...without affecting the pulmonary function and recovery."

Neck Pain

A multitude of studies demonstrates that laser therapy provides relief of acute and chronic neck pain, that pain relief is fast, safe, and should be included in recommendations for treatment of some neck injuries.

Nerve Regeneration

A 2018 review reported that laser therapy is "able to accelerate the process of nerve regeneration...[with a] decrease of inflammation, pain, and the facilitation of neural regeneration..."

Plantar Fasciitis

This study reports that laser therapy "is an effective treatment modality to reduce pain and improvement of foot function in patients with chronic PF..."

Raynaud's Disease

"Raynaud’s is a disorder in which small blood vessels of the extremities have reduced blood flow when they are exposed to cold, or emotional distress. Under these conditions, the blood vessels go into spasms, causing pain, numbness, throbbing or tingling. Typically, the fingers are most commonly affected, changing from white and even blue within minutes of exposure, and then becoming red after being warmed...low-level laser therapy appears to be an effective treatment...

Sports Injury Pain Relief

This study reports that for acute pain from sports injuries, "laser therapy provided an immediate pain relief effect."

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in the elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. A 2013 study indicates that high power laser therapy "is efficacious for the long-term relief of the symptoms associated with chronic epicondylitis."

Whiplash Syndrome

Whiplash injuries occur with sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head. This type of injury is very common in automobile collisions, but also in falls, skiing accidents, and head trauma. "Results suggest that High Power Laser Therapy - is an effective treatment in patients with whiplash injury," especially compared to simple, traditional physical therapy.