When most of us hear the word “laser” we get an image of a beam of red light cutting through metal. What most people don’t know is that laser is often used in the rehabilitation setting. It isn’t the ‘hot laser’ that is used in industrial applications but is laser therapy that is used assist in healing body tissues.
Laser therapy uses light to penetrate through the skin into tissues. It has been used by physiotherapists since the ‘80s for a wide range of conditions. Although it only penetrates a few millimetres, it can have a profound effect on tissue healing. The laser can penetrate 12 centimeters into the skin. It has been shown to aid in pain relief, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, stimulate wound healing, stimulate tissue regeneration, and reduce scarring.
Research has shown that laser therapy can be a powerful anti-inflammatory that is equally effective to anti-inflammatory medications.
Physiotherapists effectively use laser therapy for the treatment of a multitude of acute and chronic soft tissue injuries. These include but are not limited to tendinopathy (eg. tennis elbow and achilles tendonitis), rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trigger points, thoracic pain, neck pain, jaw soreness, and wound healing.