Shining Some Light On Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT)
Low intensity laser therapy (or LILT) goes by several names, including low level laser therapy, cold laser therapy and laser acupuncture.
It uses low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to stimulate and alter cellular function. There is ongoing research into the best use of LILT, with many already highlighting that it is in fact effective in alleviating pain and discomfort related to chronic pain disorders and acute injuries.
How Does LILT Work
LILT involves the application of red and near infrared light over injuries using lasers or LEDs. The LILT or LED does not cause a heating effect, that is associated with a high intensity surgical laser. The energy from the beam of light stimulates the cells in the body, helping to speed up the rate at which healing takes place. There is an increase in the rate of tissue repair, and in the reduction of both inflammation and pain.
Benefits Of LILT
- It reduces swelling, decreases pain and stiffness, and facilitates faster return to normal joint and muscle function.
- LILT accelerates the process of healing since it increases blood flow to the injured area and stimulates fibroblast development causing a surge in collagen synthesis in damaged tissue.
- Complete healing is facilitated by LILT, because it inhibits the formation of scar tissue. This translates to less chance of weakness and re-injury later.
- LILT accelerates nerve cell processes, lessening pain and numbness linked to nerve-related conditions.
Conditions Treated With LILT
LILT has been proven effective in helping to treat stubborn, persistent, and generally “difficult-to-treat” conditions. These include chronic back and neck pain, arthritis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), joint and muscle pains, acute soft tissue injuries (such as sprains and strains), and slow healing wounds. Other conditions in which LILT is successfully applied include:
- fractures and non-union fractures
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- rotator cuff injury
- neuropathic (nerve) pain due to disc injuries
- ulcers (diabetic ulcers, dermal ulcers, etc.)
- post-operative care following procedures such as tendon repair
- post mastectomy lymphedema
Advantages of LILT (Compared to Medical Treatment)
LILT treatment is both non-invasive and non-toxic, producing safe and quick results that reduce healing time. LILT can be used immediately after injury, over pins, plates and bony prominences. Treatment with LILT is drug free with no unwanted side-effects that is often associated with the use of some anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers.
LILT is used as one of the acceptable forms of alternative treatment options in pain clinics and has been successfully integrated into the mainstream medicine. The benefits of this procedure are welcome by numerous patients and health care providers.