Laser Therapy is Supported by Numerous Clinical Studies
In 1995 the editor of Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Jeffrey Bashford stated that Laser Therapy was still not an established tool. He pointed out that promising results in the laboratory failed to translate into positive clinical results. Today 23 years later there has has been a large increase in the number of controlled scientific studies in the field of Laser Therapy.
In Pubmed, there are now more than 6000 scientific articles about Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and Photobiomodulation (PBM). In the last two years, the amount of scientific evidence for laser therapy in clinical conditions has reached a level similar or above that of painkilling pills used to treat musculoskeletal disorders. In dentistry, nerve pathologies and wound healing you also see great advances in the amount of studies.
The applications of PBM are broad. Four clinical targets, however, are the most common: shining laser light on injured sites to promote healing, remodelling and/or to reduce inflammation; on nerves to induce analgesia; on lymph nodes in order to reduce oedema and inflammation; and on trigger points (a single one of as many as 15 points) to promote muscle relaxation and to reduce tenderness. Since it is non- invasive, PLLLT/PBM is very useful for patients who are needle phobic or for those who cannot tolerate therapies with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Laser treatment – anti-inflammatory effect of light
The positive outcomes depend on the parameters used on the treatment. The anti-inflammatory effect of light in low intensity was reported on patients with arthritis, acrodermatitis continua, sensitive and erythematous skin, for instance. With the same basic mechanism of action, which is the light absorption by mitochondrial chromophores, mainly Cox, the consequences of LLLT/PBM are various, depending on the parameters used, on the signalling pathways that are activated and on the treated tissue. In order to apply LLLT/PBM in clinical procedures, the clinicians should be aware of the correct parameters and the consequences for each tissue to be treated. More studies have to be performed in order to fill the gaps that still linger in the basic mechanisms underlying LLLT/PBM.