How Laser Therapy Can Accelerate Bone Healing
We’ve previously covered how laser therapy helps accelerate healing in the body in a variety of conditions by stimulating our body’s natural healing processes. Let’s take this topic a step further: Did you know that research has been done to investigate how laser therapy can even accelerate bone healing?
How Laser Therapy Activates Natural Healing Processes
Laser therapy encourages numerous biological effects throughout the body. Among other benefits, the laser waves stimulate the body’s own ability to heal itself. Laser light works on many aspects of the healing process. It is a form of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), which means the body absorbs light and then experiences a biological change that is stimulated by light therapy.
Natural Processes Stimulated by Laser Therapy
- Pain relief
- Reduction of inflammation
- Faster wound healing
- Tissue regeneration
- Nerve recovery and regeneration
- Reduced scar tissue
- Improved immune system processes
- Improved vascular activity, which helps bring nutrients to an injured area, reduces swelling, and helps remove waste cells
- Improved metabolic activity, which helps cells take in nutrients and get rid of waste to better repair muscles, tendons, and other areas
How Laser Therapy Can Accelerate Bone Healing
Numerous studies in medical journals have found positive results of using laser therapy to encourage bone healing. Here are a few we collected:
A study in the journal Lasers in Medical Science looked at how low-level laser therapy (LLLT) would impact fracture healing. The study performed on rabbits given tibial bone open osteotomies split into a group receiving treatment and a control group. After five weeks, the researchers noted a statistically significant higher rate of bone mineral density in the group receiving the laser treatment compared to the control group. The laser was seen as a way to potentially enhance callus development during the early stages of bone healing.
We can also look at a randomized controlled study in the same journal that looked at how LLLT would impact femoral fracture bone repair. In the study, rats received an ostectomy with LLLT as a treatment or an ostectomy with a sham laser as the control group. Researchers looked at the fracture after eight, 13, and 18 days. The LLLT group showed increased newly formed bone and the expression of bone matrix proteins in the LLLT group, as well as other positive markers of healing. Researchers concluded that low-level laser therapy can be used to support the formation of bone tissue and as an adjunct therapeutic tool to help with fracture healing.
Finally, a review in the Journal of Dentistry looked at various studies of low-intensity laser therapy (LILT), checking for biomodulation effects on bone-derived stem cells. It looked at 25 studies, including a mix of in vitro and animal studies. The review found that 11 of the 13 in vitro studies showed accelerated cell proliferation and differentiation due to the treatment, which was positive for bone healing. All of the animal studies found better bone healing from the laser treatment. Researchers concluded from the review that LILT is capable of accelerating bone healing.
Importance of Laser Therapy Dosage and Treatment Customization
One consideration of laser therapy is the dosage of light. The studies we looked at covered low-intensity light therapy, yet there are different therapeutic wavelengths of light. Treatment customization is an important part of getting the right results.
Exposing yourself to any light would not produce the same effects as laser therapy. That is because this therapy uses certain light wavelengths that stimulate therapeutic activities within the body. Visible light wavelengths range from 400nm to 700nm. But it’s the light you can’t see that causes benefits within the body. This is light in the infrared spectrum, which varies from 700nm to 1mm. These wavelengths are larger than the ones we can see. The ones within this range that are closest to visible light on the spectrum, which range from 800 to 2,500nm, are called near-infrared. Practitioners use wavelengths between 600nm and 1,000nm to encourage biological actions. The light in this range can enter tissue and impact cells.
Practitioners are able to customize the wavelengths to fit the situation and gain the best results. Different wavelength ranges are better for certain goals. For instance, the 600 to 700nm range is good for wounds and skin concerns, while 800 to 900nm treats pain and tissue problems. Also, high-intensity laser therapy provides a deep-penetrating option by using a 1064nm wavelength that reaches deeper body tissue.
Customize Light Therapy With the Right Laser System
Gain the best results for your patients by having access to a broader range of light wavelengths. Rather than using a laser therapy unit with a limited wavelength range, consider an advanced system like the Apex Laser System that allows you to use 810, 980, and 1064nm wavelengths to adjust to each patient’s needs.