Research: 6 Facts About Cold Laser You Should Know Before The Next Injury

Thursday, January 28th, 2016
Cold Laser Therapy

As the years go by, Cold Laser therapy gains more and more backing research. Its effectiveness at this point really isn’t even in question. For those unfamiliar with its use and effects, I thought I would run down some basic facts to help familiarize yourself with the therapy. These are things you may want to have filed in the back of your brain should you suffer a condition in the future that can be treated with Cold Laser therapy.

Basically the laser is used to emit a high intensity light that can treat chronic and acute pain while also stimulating healing and reducing inflammation (a common cause of pain).

1. Although it sounds like cutting edge technology, Cold Laser therapy has been around since the mid 1950s. The Best part about cold laser is that it is non-invasive and produces virtually no heat. There are really very few side effects and only a handful of reasons that you would not use cold laser therapy.

2. The next thing you need to know about Cold Laser therapy is that it is not cold. It is a misnomer. It gained the name to signify the fact that it is not a cutting or burning laser. Some cold lasers can be detected with slight heat during the treatment but certainly nothing hot or cold. Another name commonly used for this kind of therapy is Low Level Laser therapy.

3. Surgeons have begun using cold laser for post-operative incision healing to speed the healing and to reduce the scarring, podiatrists are using cold laser for plantar fasciitis, and we chiropractors use it extensively for muscle strains, ligament sprains, plantar fascitiis, inflammation, nerve pain, and to increase the speed of healing of soft tissues and musculoskeletal complaints.

4. A great aspect of cold laser therapy is that chronic conditions can be controlled through regular, periodic treatments, while acute conditions almost always fade rapidly. Cold Laser is not only wonderful at reducing treatment time and its cost-effective as well.

5. Common conditions treated through cold laser therapy:

  • Athletic injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Knee and foot pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Most other neurological pains
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle spasms
  • TMJ
  • Joint pain
  • Soft tissue injuries such as Sprains, Strains, Tendinitis, and Tennis Elbow
  • Chronic pain
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Chronic wounds that are having difficulty healing
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Disc herniation

6. Some common results of cold laser therapy:

  • Rapid disappearance of pain
  • Strong reduction of inflammation
  • Rapid recovery from injury
  • Immediate improvement of blood circulation at the treatment site
  • Faster healing of virtually all soft tissue injury

Since we commonly discuss research on this blog, why don’t we just go ahead and get to it?

This first paper we will discuss is from 2014.

Why they did it

The authors we’re trying to evaluate the various effects of cold laser therapy on the dorsal root ganglia that had undergone chronic compression. Chronic compression of the dorsal root ganglia is seen commonly following physical injury of that intervertebral foramen causing nerve damage.

How they did it

  • The study was performed on rats
  • The rats had artificial compression of the dorsal root ganglia in the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae to simulate chronic compression.
  • Cold laser therapy was applied to test its effectiveness.

What they found

Outcome assessments showed that cold laser significantly lessened the pain period.

Wrap it up

Cold laser showed the ability to enhance neural regeneration following chronic compression of the dorsal root ganglia which improved movement in the rats. In regards to the therapeutic effects of cold laser, there was reduction of inflammation.

Chen YJ, et al. “Effect of low level laser therapy on chronic compression of the dorsal root ganglion.” PLoS One. 2014 Mar 4;9(3)

This next paper has to do with cold laser’s affect on chronic osteoarthritis in the knee.

Why they did it

The authors of this paper we’re looking to estimate what effect cold laser therapy would have in regards to pain and performance with patients suffering from chronic osteoarthritis of the knee.

How they did it

  • The study included 40 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • They were randomly selected into different groups period
  • One group was a laser group
  • The other was a placebo group
  • Eight different points were treated in each session period
  • Cold laser was used two times each week for a month.
  • They measured pain intensity upon resting and upon movement
  • They measured knee function
  • They measured walking statistics like duration and difficulty
  • All measurements were taken before treatment and after treatment.

What they found

  • The laser group showed significant reduction in pain intensity upon resting and upon movement.
  • The laser group had a significant increase in function of the knee.
  • The laser group showed significant increase and the ability to walk longer distance and longer periods when compared to the placebo group.

Wrap it up

Cold laser was shown to be a significantly effective modality for pain relief and function in patients suffering from chronic osteoarthritis of the knee joint.

Alghadir A, et al., “Effect of low-level laser therapy in patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis: a single-blinded randomized clinical study.” Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Mar;29(2):749-55.

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.
Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

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by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
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