The profile of laser therapy for treating pain and injuries is rising. Naturally, many people suffering from pain have questions about this treatment. It’s our pleasure to help patients discover more about laser therapy by answering the common questions that people have about this treatment option.
Laser Therapy FAQs
What Is Laser Therapy?
This is a non-invasive treatment that uses lasers to apply wavelengths directly to injured or damaged tissue to promote healing. The lasers do not produce heat. Laser therapy has been associated with significant pain reduction in a number of studies.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy is considered an effective treatment with a very low risk for side effects or complications. Here’s a rundown of the benefits:
- Relatively inexpensive.
- No recovery time.
- No scarring.
- No pain.
- Sessions are very fast.
- Results are seen relatively quickly.
- Essentially no risk for infections or complications.
What Happens During Laser Therapy?
During this treatment, a handheld laser device is applied at the site of your injury. The wavelengths emitted “bathe” your cells in photons that stimulate energy production within your cells. This allows the cells to replicate DNA faster to spur faster healing. Laser treatments also stimulate better circulation and blood vessel growth to help nourish areas that have experienced tissue damage. Ultimately, laser therapy stimulates your body’s own natural healing mechanism.
What Does Laser Therapy Treat?
Laser therapy is used for a wide range of musculoskeletal issues. It is commonly used to heal tissue injuries. Here’s a look at some common reasons why people seek laser therapy:
- Pain syndromes.
- Slow healing of wounds and fractures.
- Acute pain.
- Chronic pain.
- Serious injuries.
- Sprains and strains.
- Post-surgical pain.
- Neurological conditions.
- Knee pain.
- Back pain.
- Diabetic neuropathy.
Does Laser Therapy Hurt?
No! This is considered a very gentle treatment. It is often referred to as “cold laser” therapy due to the fact that the lasers used do not emit heat that can burn the skin. While some people do experience some sensations during treatment, laser therapy does not produce pain. Many patients actually find the process to be very relaxing.
I’ve Heard That You Can Sometimes Feel Worse After Laser Therapy. Is This True?
This is partially true. Some patients begin to feel pain within 24 hours of receiving laser treatments. While this can feel alarming, it’s actually a sign that the natural healing process has been started. The body may react to the triggering of cellular activity with inflammation. While most patients notice that the pain goes away after a day, it is possible for it to linger a little bit longer. This isn’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong. However, you’ll still want to keep your care provider updated if you experience serious pain following laser treatments.
Does Laser Therapy Involve Any Injections?
No, there is no injection of any kind with laser therapy. The laser used stays on the surface of your skin.
How Long Is a Laser Therapy Session?
While this varies by patient, each treatment can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Expect your first visit to be the longest because you’ll go through a personal consultation to help us determine how to tailor this treatment to meet your needs.
Does Laser Therapy Have FDA Approval?
Yes, laser therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that people have been using to treat pain for decades. In fact, many professional athletes and Olympic teams utilize laser therapy to treat sports injuries.
How Long Does It Take to See Results From Laser Therapy?
Many of our patients begin to feel better after a single session. However, the norm is for results to become noticeable after three treatment sessions. Some patients may not notice a difference until a month into treatments. Not feeling results right away does not mean that the treatment isn’t producing results for you.
How Many Laser Treatments Are Needed to Feel Better?
This varies by patient. In most cases, patients require between five and 20 sessions stretched out of the course of several weeks to see long-term results.
How Long Does It Take to Recovery From Laser Therapy?
There’s no downtime following your appointments. You’re free to get back to your daily activities as long as you don’t “overdo it” while your body is healing.
How Long Do Results From Laser Therapy Last?
Unlike many treatments for pain, laser therapy is not focused on simply masking symptoms. This is a method for achieving deep, meaningful healing down to the cellular level. Results generally last for a long time. While the relief is semi-permanent for some patients, others never have to receive laser therapy again because their pain does not return. Your actual outcome will depend heavily on the reason for your pain or injury.
Why Is Laser Therapy Better Than Surgery?
First, laser therapy isn’t automatically the best option for all people. However, it is helping many people to get pain relief without the risks, costs, and complications of invasive procedures like surgery. Laser therapy does not have any dangerous side effects. It is considered a very safe, low-risk procedure with great outcomes. Patients don’t need to set aside any time for recovery following treatments the way they do with surgery. There is essentially no downtime for laser therapy.
Why Is Laser Therapy Better Than Medication?
Pain medication only masks pain without actually addressing the underlying issues. That means that the relief goes away when the medication wears off. Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of becoming dependent on medications that can have dangerous side effects. Others don’t tolerate pain medications well due to personal medical history. What’s more, it’s very possible that a person would have to pay for expensive medication for the rest of their life if the underlying cause of pain is never treated.
Does Laser Therapy Use LED Light?
No, this is a misconception. The light used in laser therapy directs light photons in a specific way that’s very different from LED light.
Is Laser Therapy a Bad Fit for Some Conditions?
While laser therapy is largely acceptable for most people, there are exceptions.
There are some health concerns that might not be ideal for laser treatments. The first step is to simply book a consultation that covers your entire health history. This will help you to determine if laser therapy is an ideal fit for you based on your personal risk levels.
Will My Insurance Cover Laser Therapy?
It might! More insurance companies are adding laser therapy to their policy coverage. However, it’s still not the norm. This is where it becomes important to keep things in perspective. In many cases, surgery will be covered even though laser therapy is not. However, what you’ll pay out of pocket for surgery may be more than what you’d pay out of pocket for laser therapy. It’s also important to consider the “personal cost” of choosing an option other than laser therapy just based on insurance coverage. First, laser therapy is inexpensive compared to many other treatments. You also won’t have to take time off from work, devote time to recovery or worry about high medical costs related to complications stemming from surgery. Of course, it’s also important to ask your insurance provider about laser therapy being covered. While it may not appear like this treatment is covered, it’s possible that your plan will cover it under certain conditions.
Can You Get Laser Therapy After Surgery?
Yes! It’s a misconception that you can’t elect to have laser therapy if you’ve already chosen surgery. Laser therapy can actually help to heal tissue following surgery. This can be especially important if your incision area is slow to heal.
Can You Get Laser Therapy If You’re Doing Physical Therapy or Sports Therapy?
Absolutely! The holistic nature of this treatment ensures that it doesn’t conflict with any other natural therapies or exercises you’re doing. In fact, research shows that combining laser therapy and manual therapy actually produces better outcomes than either of the two treatments when they are used on their own. However, both produce excellent outcomes even when used separately.
How Can I Book an Appointment for Laser Therapy?
Integrative Physical Health is happy to help you explore if this option is a good fit for you! First, book a consultation with our friendly team. We’ll talk about your pain, go over your health history and discuss some of the benefits of this treatment with you. Book your consultation for laser therapy today!