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Low-level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Laser therapy is one of the techniques we offer as part of our integrated treatment approach for pain relief, here in our Dublin based Physiotherapy clinic.

Laser therapy is a treatment technique which promotes cellular function by the process of photo-biostimulation. A specific, light-emitting device is applied to the pain area for the purpose of decreasing inflammation, relieving muscles cramps and trigger points as well as a number of other conditions noted below.

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The use of low-level laser therapy for musculoskeletal pain is a non-invasive and safe modality.

Benefits of low-level laser therapy

  • Pain relief
  • Decreases muscle spasm
  • Increases cell regeneration, healing and repair
  • Decreases inflammation

If you are interested in receiving low-level laser therapy treatment in our clinic please mention this at the time of booking your appointment.

The History of low-level laser therapy

Not long after the first working laser was invented this light-emitting technology was experimented on skin cancer in a Budapest university. It was during these experiments that laser therapy’s influence on cellular function was first noted.

Evidence for the use of low-level laser therapy for pain relief

  • Despite a lack of consensus over its ideal use, specific test and protocols for LLLT suggest it is effective in relieving short-term pain for
  • rheumatoid arthritis, (Brosseau, L et al, 2005)
  • osteoarthritis (Jamtvedt, G et al, 2007)
  • acute and chronic neck pain (Chow et al, 2007)
  • tendinopathy (Bjordal et al, 2008, Tumilty, S et al, 2010)
  • possibly chronic joint disorders. (Bjordal et al, 2005)
  • The evidence for LLLT being useful in the treatment of low back pain, dentistry and wound healing is open to interpretation (Da Silva et al, 2010)
  • A Cochrane Library review concluded that LLLT has insufficient evidence for treatment of nonspecific low back pain (Yousefi-Nooraie, R, 2008) a finding echoed in a later review of treatments for chronic low back pain (Middelkoop, M et al, 2010)
  • Trigger Points/ myofascial pain (Hakgüder, Aral, et al, 2003,Gur, A, et al 2004)

The mechanisms/ effects of low-level laser therapy

  • It is unclear how LLLT works
  • LLLT may reduce pain related to inflammation by lowering, in a dose-dependent manner, levels of inflammatory mediators e.g. prostaglandin E2, interleukin 1-beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha
  • Another mechanism may be related to stimulation of mitochondria to increase the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) affecting intracellular homeostasis or the proliferation of cells (Tafue et al, 2008)
  • ATP when broken down to adenosine also has mild anti-nociceptive and vasodilatory effects (Lundeberg)
  • Improves repair with stimulatory effects on collagen through fibroblast and collagen fibre production (Bjordal et al, 2006, 2008)
  • Anti-inflammatory effects at higher doses (7.5J/cm2) healing and repair effects at lower doses (2J/cm2) (Bjordal et al, 2006, 2008)
  • Effects are dose dependant
  • Effects negated by local steroid injections (Lopes-Martins et al, 2006)

by Simon.


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