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Cold Laser Therapy for Knee Pain: What You Should Know

November 19th 2018
Those who have knee pain, whether acute or recurring, may find relief in cold laser therapy. A relatively new form of alternative treatment, this type of laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses a class III or class IV laser to stimulate the affected area and alleviate pain. Research has shown that it can be efficacious in alleviating knee pain whether it’s caused by injury or chronic conditions. Researchers think the lasers aid in healing because they may:
  • Improve circulation
  • Stimulate natural painkillers called endorphins
  • Improve cell regeneration
  • Encourage new tissue growth 

What Is Cold Laser Therapy?

Cold laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy or LLLT, uses a class III or class IV laser and passes it over the knee or painful area for a short period. Unlike hotter lasers that can burn and damage the skin, the LLLT laser typically doesn’t cause skin damage. Lasers are classified by the intensity and temperature of their light beam. Hotter lasers are used for surgery and other applications. LLLT lasers are used in a variety of wavelengths and some penetrate deeper than others. Since the skin doesn’t absorb much light, it’s important that the doctor or technician uses a class of laser that penetrates to a depth appropriate for the pain.


What Types Of Knee Pain Does LLLT Help?

Those who have knee injuries from diseases, as well as those who have a knee injury caused by trauma, may be able to benefit from laser therapy. Bone on bone knee pain can be eliminated with a combination of LLLT and physical therapy. The LLLT reduces the irritation and subsequent inflammation of arthritis while the physical therapy strengthens the surrounding muscles and ligaments so that pressure on the joint is reduced.

An injured knee joint can heal faster when LLLT is applied because the body’s healing mechanisms are stimulated and circulation increases. Other types of pain that can be helped with LLLT include:
  • Bursitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

How Long Does The Benefit Last?

The time it takes to heal and how long the benefits lasts will vary by the individual. Currently, there is no cure for arthritis or similar bone diseases. However, LLLT can provide relief from the symptoms and improve quality of life for those who have a degenerative bone disease in their knees. For some, the use of LLLT can enable them to begin to exercise and lose weight, which can often alleviate much of the knee pain of arthritis and other diseases.


Advantages of Laser Therapy for Knee Pain

  • A non-invasive technique to alleviate pain
  • Doesn’t require a prescription or over the counter medications
  • No extended recovery time
  • No side effects when properly performed
  • Treatment session time is short
  • Some insurance carriers will help with the cost
  • Targets acupuncture trigger points to effect pain relief

Disadvantages of laser therapy for Knee Pain

  • Complete relief may require several weeks
  • May require multiple sessions each week
  • May temporarily exacerbate symptoms of old injuries
  • Treatment cost isn’t covered by Medicare or Medicaid
  • Treatment cost isn’t covered by many major insurance carriers

What Alternatives Are Available?

Although there are alternative treatments for knee pain, most involve more invasive techniques and medications. Alternatives include:
  • Arthrocentesis
  • Acupuncture
  • Injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid
  • Prescription NSAIDs
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy and exercises
If you have knee pain from disease or injury, make an appointment today to look at LLLT to help alleviate your pain. It’s painless and effective and can improve your quality of life, so call today!

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