More people are becoming aware of the dangers of opioids for pain management, as they have been under intense scrutiny. As a result, musculoskeletal and joint patients are now looking for safer and more sustainable ways to relieve pain. Cold laser therapy is emerging as a leading alternative, especially for chronic pain patients. As a nonpharmacological pain control method, cold laser therapy carries no risk of substance misuse, allowing patients with chronic pain to manage their symptoms safely.
Laser cold therapy uses low-level lasers (i.e., lasers that do not impart heat) to trigger a reaction in your cells that promotes healing. Cold laser treatments are fast (lasting at most a few minutes), painless, and noninvasive.
Join us as we explore how cold laser therapy is helping patients with diverse conditions and ailments reliably manage pain.
What is Cold Laser Therapy?
Cold laser therapy, or low-level laser therapy, is a type of light therapy that uses non-thermal photons (hence the word “cold”) to trigger biochemical responses from cells that invoke healing.
In 1967, at the Semmelweis Medical University in Hungary, a physician named Endre Mester was experimenting with laser therapy technology to treat cancerous tumors in rats. Mester inadvertently created a low-level laser that was not powerful enough to target the rats’ tumors; however, he found that the laser could promote healing and increase hair growth in the targeted area. He had just discovered a low-level light therapy with broad applications!
How Does Cold Laser Therapy Work?
Low-level laser therapy targets cells with a low-frequency laser at specific wavelengths to stimulate the healing process.
Low-level lasers excite cells, modulating their intracellular metabolism and causing chemical changes. The production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that stores and transports energy for cells, is increased, protective and growth genes are activated, and enzymes involved in protein synthesis are initialized.
These biological processes lead to numerous benefits, allowing the body to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve blood flow
- Repair injure tissues
- Relieve pain
- Mitigate autoimmune responses
What Does Cold Laser Therapy Treat?
Cold laser therapy treats various musculoskeletal issues that cause acute or chronic pain. The ability of cold therapy to cause cell-level chemical reactions makes it appropriate in diverse settings.
The use of cold laser therapy has been shown to benefit patients suffering with:
- Back pain
- Knee pain
- Joint pain
- Skin conditions such as psoriasis
- Injured tissue
- Muscle strain
Tentative research into the use of cold laser therapy for severe illnesses is also underway, with applications in brain injuries, spinal injuries, and degenerative diseases being considered.
Is Cold Laser Therapy FDA-Approved?
In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a low-level laser device for pain reduction. FDA research clearance into low-level laser therapy dates back to 2002 after a study showed the efficacy of low-level laser treatments in treating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
According to a review published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 32 different home-use cold therapy devices were cleared by the FDA as of January 2020. With this many home-use devices given the FDA stamp of approval, it is clear that professionally administered cold laser therapy is exceptionally safe.
What are the Benefits of Cold Laser Therapy?
Cold laser therapy holds several advantages over other forms of pain management. Firstly, cold laser treatments are entirely non-invasive. The procedure does not cause any damage to the skin of patients, and it is entirely painless. Additionally, each treatment session is remarkably fast. Low-level lasers are pulsed into the treatment area for no longer than a couple of minutes.
Cold laser therapy can also be cost-effective compared to its alternatives. A study published in the Oral Oncology journal found that low-level laser therapy reduced morbidity in head and neck cancer patients and was considerably more cost-effective than the placebo.
Lastly, cold laser therapy is a fantastic alternative for those who suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD). Since the treatment is non-psychoactive and doesn’t produce a “high,” there is no scope for abuse. Low-level laser therapy has even been successfully trialed as a supplementary treatment for alcohol addiction.
Cold Laser Treatment Pros and Cons
Like any treatment option, cold laser therapy has its pros and cons. Some of the cons of cold lasers include high precision requirements (if the settings are not optimal, the effects can be greatly diminished), varied results, and the unpredictability of home-administered cold laser therapy. The last point can be mitigated by receiving treatment from a trained medical professional. Cost concerns can also factor into the decision to use cold laser therapy, as multiple sessions are often required to achieve the desired results.
Despite the cons, the outstanding benefits of cold laser therapy make it a viable option for patients who need to manage their pain fast, comfortably, and painlessly, with no recovery time needed.
How Does Dr. Doerr Combine Laser Therapy With Chiropractic Care?
Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center takes a multi-pronged approach to sports recovery treatment, combining various therapies to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.
Cold laser therapy augments the musculoskeletal benefits of chiropractic care by encouraging healing, repairing damaged cells, reducing inflammation, and mitigating musculoskeletal pain. Cold laser therapy also improves the joint health of our patients, compounding the effect of chiropractic treatment.
How Much Does Cold Laser Therapy Cost?
Cold laser therapy sessions can cost up to $200, but service providers often give more favorable pricing for bulk packages. This is an ideal solution for cold laser therapy since multiple sessions are required for optimal results.
Check your insurance policy to see if cold laser therapy is covered. If you are not covered for this treatment, contact Bergen Chiropractic to discuss your personalized therapeutic regimen.
Start Your Cold Laser Treatment at Bergen Chiropractic!
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, areas. Also, feel free to access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatments!
- Avci, Pinar, et al. “Low-Level Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) in Skin: Stimulating, Healing, Restoring.” Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Mar. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126803/. Accessed 3 Nov. 2022.
- Alexandra Schnee, DC. “History of Cold Laser Therapy.” Spine, www.spine-health.com/treatment/pain-management/history-cold-laser-therapy. Accessed 3 Nov. 2022.
- “Cold Laser Therapy for Knees.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/pain-management/knee-pain/cold-laser-knee-pain. Accessed 3 Nov. 2022.