Is Laser Therapy Right for Me? 6 Things to Consider
You may have heard about laser therapy from a friend or family member who has undergone the treatment for pain or inflammation. You might have also seen ads for laser therapy on TV or the internet — after all, the treatment has been getting a lot of attention for treating acute and chronic conditions quickly, conveniently, and without using dangerous painkillers.
Like many people, you might wonder, “Is laser therapy right for me?” The answer may surprise you. Several health and lifestyle factors may shape your decision to jump into a new treatment like laser therapy. Reviewing these factors can help you decide if laser therapy is right for you.
1. Laser therapy is a drug-free approach to pain relief
Pain can prevent you from working, sleeping, taking care of your family, and enjoying your favorite activities. While prescription painkillers can bring relief, they can also cause side effects, such as sleepiness and nausea. Prescription pain relievers can also lead to physical dependence, addiction, overdose, and even death. Because of these dangers, healthcare officials now recommend against prescription opioids to manage pain.
Laser therapy treats pain without dangerous side effects. Also known as photobiomodulation (PBMT), laser therapy uses the power of light wavelengths to stimulate the body’s healing. The light emitted in laser therapy devices stimulates the mitochondria within the affected cells to boost energy production, giving cells the energy they need to recover from whatever caused the pain in the first place.
PBMT also stimulates circulation to reduce painful inflammation and speed up tissue healing and treats pain or discomfort associated with scarring.
2. The condition you would like to treat
Laser therapy is highly effective at treating a wide variety of conditions, such as:
- Muscle strains and spasms
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Ligament sprains
- Knee pain
3. You have inflammation
Inflammation is part of the immune system’s response to injury or infection — the fluids that cause inflammation prevent further damage and wash away foreign objects and dead cells. Acute inflammation, which lasts only a short time, is good. Chronic inflammation that lasts for a long time can have harmful effects.
Some health conditions can cause chronic inflammation. Laser therapy may be right for you if you have one of these inflammation-causing conditions:
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
Laser therapy eases inflammation by acting on inflammatory mediators, chemicals that control inflammation. More specifically, laser therapy supports the production and circulation of these mediators to help reduce inflammation quickly and naturally.
4. You need deep tissue healing
Deep tissue laser therapy delivers healing red and near-infrared light deep into musculoskeletal tissue, where muscle pain lives. When it comes to reaching the origin of muscle pain, many treatments fall short. Laser therapy can deliver healing light deep into the tissue to treat muscle pain at its source.
The light triggers a cascade of biological events that give injured cells the energy they need to heal. The light from deep tissue laser therapy can speed recovery, improve nerve function, and even stimulate the immune system.
5. Your commitment to a treatment plan
Like many other treatments, laser therapy requires the patient to undergo several treatment sessions to achieve the best outcomes. Laser treatment plans may sometimes involve three or more weekly therapy sessions over several weeks. Many people have trouble committing to a treatment plan because of irregular work hours, family duties, or major life changes, such as moving to another home or changing jobs.
Fortunately, a laser therapy session is fast and easy, taking just a few minutes from a busy day. Plus, laser therapy is very relaxing, so many patients look forward to their treatment.
Laser therapy may be right for you if you can commit to a few treatment sessions per week to address a medical condition and improve your health.
6. You want to participate in the treatment decision-making process
There are more treatment options than ever before, and patients are taking a stronger role in choosing which treatment options they would like to pursue. Doctors are now taking an approach known as “shared decision making,” in which clinicians and patients work together to create a treatment plan. The practitioner provides the patient with information about the condition and available treatment options, and the patient weighs this information with their preferences and values.
To learn more about laser therapy and for assistance in deciding if this treatment approach is right for you, consult with your healthcare provider, therapist, trainer, or wellness professional.