Laser therapy is useful in treating a number of problems including knee pain due to injury and osteoarthritis. Laser therapy is an alternative treatment for joint pain. It is also known as cold laser therapy, soft laser, and low-level laser therapy (LLLT). Laser light also helps in the early healing of wounds.(1) This means it can help the body to repair tissue damage caused due to injuries, arthritis and other diseases.
Different wavelengths are required to treat different conditions. The laser light energy goes through the skin and penetrates two to five centimeters into the tissues. This triggers a physiological reaction which may reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healing.
The Procedure of Laser Therapy for Knee Pain
Laser therapy is administered with a small hand-held device and is a non-invasive procedure. It can be performed by a doctor, physical therapist or clinician.
Protective eyewear is given during the laser procedure for knee pain, as looking directly into the laser light might harm the eyes.
During administration, the device is held close to the area of treatment. The length of time is determined by the size of the area being treated and the intensity of the illness.
The light energy is absorbed by the tissues. This helps lessen inflammation and promote regeneration.
It takes several sitting to get the result. The patient might need to take the treatment in a week’s frequency for some time and then months.
A slight tingling sensation is felt at the time of getting the therapy. You can go home directly after the laser procedure for knee pain.
Benefits and Side Effects of Laser Therapy
A study conducted in 2003 found that laser therapy can help reduce pain.(2) One more study found that laser therapy provided some anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits to those suffering from pain in Achilles’ tendons.(3)
Laser therapy has a few benefits and side effects related to it, which are as follows:
Benefits of Laser Therapy
- It is a painless and non invasive treatment.
- It does not require any preparation time.
- It can be taken along with other treatments for knee pain.
- The recovery time is fast as compared to other invasive treatments.
Side Effects of Laser Therapy
- Numerous sittings are required before any relief is felt.
- The laser therapy treatment for knee pain might not be covered under insurance as it is a type of alternative treatment.
Good Candidates For Laser Therapy Treatment
Laser therapy can be a treatment of choice for the pains caused by injury or aging. It can be used as a treatment in the following conditions:
It is important to confirm with the doctor before going ahead with the laser therapy. The laser should not be used over the thyroid gland or the eyes. It should also not used in the case of an undiagnosed condition.
The therapy should not be given to pregnant females.
Alternative To Laser Therapies For Knee Pain
There are home management strategies such as rest, ice packs, compression, exercises, and use of over-the counter-prescription medications that can help give relief from knee pain.
Other treatments include:
- Strengthening exercises
- Physical therapy
- Knee injections or corticosteroids
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Arthrocentesis, which involves removal of the joint fluid through a needle
- Arthritis medication, anti-rheumatics
- Alternative treatments
- Knee surgery
Laser therapy can also be given along with these treatments.
Laser therapy can provide relief from knee pain but is not necessary that it would work for everyone. Success varies from person to person.