Laser therapy: Touch-free healing

The future of healing has been in the hands of professional athletes for years and is now available to everyone as a method of treatment at Performance Spine and Sports Medicine (PSSM).

Laser therapy has been in use by major league sports trainers and Olympic trainers for years, according to the LiteCure website, the company which provides the class IV high-intensity laser at PSSM.

Dr. Aisling Linehan, a physical therapist at PSSM said that laser therapy has been a popular treatment for about five years, but they first heard about it from their clients. She said people were saying they heard that laser therapy could reduce pain and speed up healing, so they decided try it out.

“We studied up on it. People who work in our office tried it first then we ran a trial for our clients,” said Linehan. “The results were that everybody loved it.”

After the successful trial all of the clinicians were trained to use the lasers, with some impressive results.

“I have many patients who benefited from the laser,” said Linehan. “It does a great job with accelerating the healing process of sacral/low back pain and rotator cuff strains.”

She said she uses the laser on up to 10 patients per day. She even uses it on her own hands when they get sore from working with patients.

She said the procedure is painless, most describe the sensation as that of getting out of a hot tub, when they finish with the treatment. The procedure is performed in a private room and requires no medium to work – like a gel. Successful treatment can take eight to twelve sessions, though it is sometimes used longer for patients with chronic conditions.

Linehan said the laser can be used for acute and chronic conditions. She said she has seen success for problems such as patellar tendonitis, ankle sprains, muscle strains, low back pain, pelvic pain and sacral sprain/strain.

Some patients see an instant reduction in pain, but typically after three or four visits there is a noticeable improvement, said Linehan.

Some places charge up to $50 for laser therapy treatment, according to Linehan, which has to come out of a patients pocket because it is not covered by insurance. At PSSM they make it part of the treatment plan at no extra charge.

The therapy is not for everybody, including those who have had corticosteroid injections. It is also not recommended for patients under the age of 18 or for women who are pregnant.

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