How Does Cold Laser Work?
When laser light is absorbed by living tissues it triggers biological reactions in cells. Some of these reactions are stimulatory to cellular mitochondria. Mitochondria are the source of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) that provides all the energy used for cell function. Increased cell function stimulates localized tissue repair. The light also stimulates production of biological chemicals that are carried by blood and lymphatic flow to provide systemic benefit.
Cold Laser FAQs
Is Cold Laser Therapy Painful?
No. Low Level Lasers do not generate significant heat. Since it stimulates activity at the cellular level, most people feel nothing while a few people may feel slight tingling or very mild warmth during treatment.
Is Cold Laser a Proven Technology?
Yes. Early studies by Russian scientists in the 1920’s showed that cells isolated from each other in two adjacent test tubes can communicate with each other by emitting light. Practical applications of laser began in the late 1960’s when Hungarian researchers documented that light accelerated local tissue growth with systemic benefits. In the 1970’s cold lasers became popular as a physical therapy treatment. Currently, medical lasers are used in dentistry, surgery, physical therapy, and general medical care. PubMed searches provide 1,000’s of studies showing the benefit of cold laser therapy.
How Many Treatments are Needed?
The number of treatments can range from 3 – ~20. Initial treatment is typically 2x per week for 3 weeks. If cold laser will benefit you, it will typically be seen during this initial series of treatments. Your response will determine if additional treatment is needed. The nature and severity of your condition, your overall health, and type of tissues being treated will determine the total number and frequency of treatments.
How Will I Know if it is Working?
Many people will see a reduction in symptoms immediately or within a few hours of treatment. Others will show benefit more slowly.
Is Cold Laser Therapy Safe?
Yes, cold lasers are low power (watt) devices that do not cause an increase in temperature or cellular destruction seen in higher power hot lasers.
What are some of the Physiologic changes from Cold Laser?
Increased production of endorphins for reduction in pain. Enhanced lymphatic flow to drain cellular waste, increase circulation, and speed cellular repair. Release of tight muscles that create chronic pain and decreased mobility. Stimulation of fibro/osteoblasts to accelerate bone and tissue healing.
Are There Any Side Effects of Cold Laser?
Even though unusual, if the dose of therapy (i.e., treatment time) is too long, there can be some local muscular spasm, or systemic nausea and headache. This is easily remedied by reducing treatment time.
Benefits of Cold Laser
Conditions Treated by Cold Laser
• Sprains & Strains
• Hip Pain
• Peripheral Neuropathy
• Headaches & Migraines
• Scar Healing
• Epicondylitis (Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow)
• Shoulder Pain
• Foot Pain
• Skin Ulcers
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Articles on Cold Laser
Simple Explanations – Patient Friendly
INM Cold Laser Brochure (similar info as above, but in a pdf that is easy to print) – INM Cold Laser Brochure
Summary of Results of Cold Laser on Various Musculoskeletal Conditions – Cold Laser Summary
Technical Explanations – for patients that want a deeper understanding of the science of Cold Laser
Cold Lasers in Pain Management – Cold Lasers in Pain Management
Cold Lasers in Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis – Cold Lasers in Knee OA
Cold Lasers in Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis- Cold Lasers in RA
Dan W, 74 yo male
“I have had chronic osteoarthritis pain in my left thumb. It caused shooting pains and affected my ability to use my left hand. After just 3 cold laser treatments with Dr. Wilkinson, the frequency and level of pain decreased by 75%. I found the treatments to be amazingly effective.”