Laser Therapy for Orthopedic Injury

Laser Therapy for Orthopedic Injury: The Injury Care Center

What is Laser Therapy?

The History behind the treatment: Laser (L.A.S.E.R.) is an acronym for Light Amplification via Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In the early 1970, laser therapy was in its infancy in medical care throughout much of Eastern Europe, China and the U.S.S.R. and this provided the world with an early abundance of research on the effectiveness of lasers in medical treatment. Eventually, in the early 80’s it spread throughout much of Western Europe and became popular for use as a physical therapy modality. Unfortunately, for those individuals suffering medical conditions in the United States, it had taken an additional period of time for this treatment to become available stateside. The reason was the lengthy FDA process, as well as the cost, lack of power, and effectiveness of modern laser which would require excessive treatment times to render the effective dosage of treatment for each patient. Therefore, the cost and limited availability of such lasers, length of treatment time to render the proper dosage for a patient and lack of FDA approval all delayed the introduction of lasers into the effective healthcare management of musculoskeletal injuries the United States.

The Science behind the treatment: Lasers fall along the electromagnetic spectrum which encompasses everything from Gamma rays, x-rays, visible light, through microwaves to radio waves. They are all forms of energy and as you can imagine each of these rays have different biological effects on the human body. It is evident to most individuals, the effects from each of these types of rays will affect the body differently. X-rays will penetrate through the body and allow your doctor to see your bones. This can be very useful for diagnosing certain medical conditions such as a fractured hip. But too much exposure to certain rays has negative consequences to the body, such as suffering a sunburn from excessive exposure to the sun’s rays, etc. Therefore, it is critical that the wavelength, power, and dosage of these rays is closely monitored so your body can reap the positive biological effects of the ray without suffering the negative consequences…as anyone with a sunburn would attest! Modern day lasers used in physical therapy are now powerful enough to allow the proper treatment dose and are inside a very effective treatment window on the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths between 600nm to 1500nm where the positive effects can penetrate deep beneath your skin but limit any harmful biological effects. Therefore, lasers have been proven safe and effective for many medical conditions and it is a treatment technique approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

The Biological effects of the treatment: lasers used at the Injury Care Center, work via a process known as photobiomodulation to modify the body’s damaged tissue by stimulating cellular metabolism which hastens the healing process of the injured cells and surrounding areas. Therapeutic lasers operate in the near-infrared spectrum and can penetrate deep tissue structures, thereby targeting deep muscles, ligaments and tendons that are routinely involved in orthopedic injuries such as work injuries, car accidents, whiplash or low back pain. The specific biological process is very technical which involves the cytochrome complex of the cell inside the mitochondria which is critical in cell health…but suffice it to say that without getting into the specific cell metabolism….it rapidly improves your bodies healing response!

What Conditions Can Laser Therapy Treat?
Therapeutic Lasers can be used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with: Neck pain, low back pain, shoulder, hip and knee pain, sprains & strains, tendonitis, tendinosis, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, RSD, epicondylitis, herniated disc pain, bursitis among many other conditions. There are well over 3,000 professionally reviewed research articles on the effectiveness of therapeutic laser. Laser therapy is endorsed by many professional organizations including the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), World Health Organization (WHO), and World Association for Laser Therapy (WALT), and the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP®). There are continually ongoing research projects into many specific conditions that have shown positive outcomes with the use of therapeutic laser.

Are there any Precautions to using Laser?

Each patient needs to be evaluated by a licensed medical provider prior to use of therapeutic laser. Class IV lasers are only available to medical providers and care/caution needs to be provided in their use. Laser radiation in the eyes can result in permanent damage and therefore are only available at licensed medical practices and are not available for home use. Other medical conditions would need to be evaluated as you don’t want to use laser over active infection, tumor or directly over the uterus during pregnancy. We also use caution over dark pigmented tattoos, etc.
Therapeutic Laser is a proven safe and effective treatment modality that patients in the United States have just more recently begun to discover what the rest of the world has been effectively using in medical care for years!
Please contact us at the Injury Care Center to discuss your condition and how you may benefit from the use of therapeutic laser.
Thomas Kiger, P.T.
Physical Therapist
Injury Care Center
901 W. Ashland Avenue
Glenolden, PA 19036

Injury Care Center
1502 Upland Street
Chester, PA 19013

Injury Care Center
3300 Grant Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19114