What is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy is a form of treatment which utilizes penetrating beams of light to accurately burn, cut or destroy the tissue. Laser therapy involves the use of red and infrared light for relieving pain, promoting healing and decreasing inflammation. When the light source is placed to the skin, many centimeters are penetrated by the photons and then absorbed by the mitochondria, which is that part of the cell which produces energy. This produced energy causes many positive physiological responses, which results in restoration of normal cell function and morphology. Laser therapy is different from other physical therapy treatments, which only mask pain or focus on the symptoms of disease. Laser therapy concentrates on treating the underlying condition and/or pathology to accelerate the healing process. This results in more effective treatments and longer lasting benefits. The radiation source of the laser light is very small and is very safe, such that there are no health risks to the patient or the medical staff.
Lasers can be used for various medical conditions. Due to the small and precise nature of the laser beam, the doctors can safely treat the tissue without damaging the surrounding regions. Lasers can also be used to remove growths and to cauterize blood vessels.
Laser treatment can be used in the following procedures:
- Varicose veins treatment
- Corneal eye surgery for vision improvement
- Retinal detachment repair
- Treatment of retinopathy (diabetic eye disease)
- Prostate removal
- Kidney stones removal
- Laser surgery of the skin
Cold Laser Therapy
Also known as low level laser therapy (LLLT), low power laser therapy (LPLT), soft laser, therapeutic laser, laser acupuncture and biostimulation laser. Cold laser is that laser treatment which uses low levels or low-intensity of laser light. Supporters claim that cold laser therapy helps in relieving pain and inflammation. Cold laser treatment is also considered to help in some types of pain, inflammation and wound healing, although more proof is required. These lasers are used directly on or over the injured region. Cold lasers sometimes are also used for acupuncture i.e. the laser beams are used to stimulate the body's acu-points instead of needles. This treatment is best for those individuals who want to use acupuncture, but have a fear of needles.
Cold laser therapy is also thought to help smokers to quit smoking. Despite all these assertions, there is not enough scientific evidence to support these claims. Cold laser therapy should not be confused with conventional laser surgery, which is an established treatment for some cancers. Hot lasers can be used to destroy or shrink skin tumors or tumors present on the surface of internal organs. They can also be used to remove polyps or tumors that are obstructing the windpipe, stomach or colon. Laser therapy also helps in alleviating symptoms of cancer, such as bleeding. Laser surgery for cancer is commonly combined with other treatments like conventional surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Pain Laser Therapy
Pain laser therapy is a boon for those people who are suffering from chronic pain which is not relieved by other conventional methods. Pain laser therapy or laser pain therapy is used in many types of pain including osteoarthritis pain to pain from varicose veins. Many patients have benefited from pain laser therapy and have found immense relief where other treatments have failed. Pain laser therapy is absolutely non-toxic and is less invasive than surgery. It is very useful and is extremely effective in majority of the cases. This treatment is quite painless and requires only a short amount of time to find relief from pain.
Given below is the basic process of how the pain laser therapy works:
- The lasers beam penetrates the skin and reacts with different cells.
- The cells produce energy which helps in promoting the healing process.
- The growth of the cell is stimulated.
- As the cell growth increases, the heart begins to produce more immune cells all over the body.
- These increased cells then help in healing and relieving chronic pain.
Pain laser therapy is used to relieve pain in the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic/acute neck pain
- Chronic joint pain
- Herniated disc pain
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Pain from muscle injuries
Skin Laser Treatment
Skin laser therapy has been used for some time now and with advancement in the technology, it has rapidly improved in the recent few years. There are many types of cosmetic lasers used today, which makes it difficult for the patient to differentiate one from another. Given below are some types of skin laser treatment:
Ablative and Non-Ablative
There are two main types of skin laser treatment: Ablative and non-ablative lasers. Ablative lasers are structured to vaporize or destroy the injured or affected top layers of the skin to resolve cosmetic issues.
Non-ablative lasers are used to penetrate deeper into the skin and resolve issues without damaging or removing the top layers of skin. Other than these two categories, there are hundreds of types and classifications of lasers, but the primary difference is the wavelength (color of light released). Different colors of light are used to treat different types of skin problems.
Some of the Lasers Used for Skin Treatment
Acne and Acne Scars: CO2 laser is the best laser therapy for deep acne scars. It is one of the common lasers available. Non-ablative lasers and LED technology are effective in treating superficial scars or active acne.
Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Aggressive treatment with an ablative laser gives the best results in this type of skin problem, e.g. CO2 laser, erbium YAG laser and also pulsed dye lasers.
Hair Removal: The success of lasers in hair removal depends on the hair and skin pigment. Lighter pigments benefit from IPL (a light treatment resembling skin laser therapy), whereas darker-skinned patients benefit from diode lasers and Nd: YAG laser therapy.
Skin Tightening: Lasers commonly provide some degree of superficial skin tightening. For best results, CO2 lasers, light-based therapies such as Thermage and Titan treatment are used.
Blemishes and Age Spots: IPL treatment is beneficial for lighter or superficial blemishes or spots whereas Fraxel, YAG lasers and pulsed dye lasers help in alleviating deeper or serious blemishes and pigmentation in the skin.
Varicose Veins and Other Vascular Problems: The IPL is a common choice as it is minimally invasive. Other than that Nd:YAG, Diode lasers, and pulsed dye skin laser therapy are also beneficial in treating these problems.