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How Often Should You Do Laser Therapy for Pain?

With laser therapy, different wavelengths of low-level light precisely target a problem area. The cells in that area respond to the red and near-infrared light in a scientifically proven process, stimulating healing and reducing inflammation.

Medical professionals of all disciplines use this treatment process. Lasers are essential in sports medicine clinics, physical therapy practices, dental offices, and veterinary hospitals. Pain clinics also rely on lasers to help those with both acute and chronic pain. It can be beneficial for everything from fibromyalgia to carpal tunnel syndrome.

As they try to learn more about this innovative approach to pain relief and healing, people commonly ask how often they need treatment. There is no perfect answer to this question. The frequency of use depends greatly on the problem and its severity. That versatility is one reason so many practitioners turn to laser therapy. This article will provide some general information about the various uses of laser therapy and how it may benefit those with pain.

How Does Laser Therapy Help Reduce Pain and Promote Healing?

Multiple studies show the benefits of low-level laser therapy for acute and chronic pain. For decades, researchers have been exploring its effect.

A 2016 clinical trial shows that laser therapy stimulates the cell membrane and mitochondria, the power source for cells. This improves cell function, stimulates circulation, reduces inflammation, and triggers healing. At the same time, the laser light increases endorphin production, providing an analgesic effect that helps manage pain.

What Conditions Benefit From Low Light Laser Therapy?

Low-light laser therapy can benefit many conditions, from acute injuries like broken bones to chronic diseases like arthritis. Here are a few conditions where laser treatment is common.

Sports Injuries

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), almost 16,000 sports injuries were reported among high school athletes from 2015 to 2019. Now, add the daily runners, the weekend tennis players, and the occasional golfer, and you get an idea of how many of these types of injuries emergency rooms and doctor’s offices see every year.

Laser therapy for bone healing and sports injuries can be critical. A fractured bone starts to heal almost immediately. After about a week, the callus formation starts. The callus is the fibrous tissue and cartridge that mends the bone. There is evidence that low-level laser therapy can stimulate callus formation and reduce inflammation, which can add to the pain of the injury.

Muscle strain is also a concern for athletes and is often seen in sports injuries. Laser therapy for muscle strain increases circulation to the damaged tissue and reduces the discomfort of the injury. That means improved mobility and faster recovery.

Repetitive Use Injuries

Some injuries result from repetitive movements. These movements strain muscles repeatedly, causing injuries. Tennis or golf elbow are good examples of this type of injury. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, happens due to overuse of the connective tissue that supports the elbow joint. People associate this chronic injury with tennis because the constant movement of swinging the racket to hit the ball can cause it.

Another practical example of a repetitive use injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. The damage occurs from repeated compression of the median nerve that runs through the narrow carpal tunnel passageway on the palm side of the hand.

Low-level laser therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome can reach the tissue to treat the underlying causes of the injury. Reducing inflammation and stimulating healing help promote tissue regeneration.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis happens when the cord and nerves squeeze through a small space inside the backbone. People with this condition can experience numbness, chronic pain, and muscle weakness that worsens over time.

Laser therapy for neck pain due to spinal stenosis can mean better lives for those with the condition. The treatment can reduce inflammation and stimulate the release of endorphins, which help suppress pain. At the same time, laser therapy for spinal stenosis can stimulate the production of new blood vessels and improve circulation to the affected area.

How Often Do You Get Laser Therapy for Pain?

The frequency of your treatment will depend on several factors. Those with acute injuries, like fractures or muscle strains, may benefit from two to six treatments. Those with chronic pain may feel relief after six to 12 treatments. Those with severe, degenerative conditions like arthritis may get treatments two or three times a week for as long as there is benefit.

The therapy sessions are typically short, lasting only about 10 minutes. The larger the target areas, the longer the session.

Laser therapy is a pain-free approach to healing and reducing discomfort. The treatment is often part of a larger care plan that includes other forms of rehabilitation and pain management, such as physical therapy.

If you are experiencing pain, either acute or chronic, consult with your doctor about the idea of laser therapy to help manage it and help you heal.

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