Doctors use lasers to treat various conditions for a long time already. The thing is that laser beams are focused enough to treat exactly the area that needs to be treated absolutely safely and without possible damages of the tissues around.
For example, laser is an effective and highly accurate surgical tool that allows doing complicated eye surgeries, remove tumors, and so on. It is used in cosmetology (to improve skin condition or remove vascularity spots, for example). Lasers are also used to remove kidney stones and with many other medical purposes, including diagnostic.
In this article, we will speak about one particular laser use in medicine that is neck and back treatment. For this purpose, the so-called “cold” laser is used. So, what is it and is it really effective?
Types of Lasers Used Medically
First of all, here is what you need to know about lasers in healthcare in general.
Not all the lasers are used in medicine. To be exact, there are hundreds of various types of lasers and only about 12 of them are used with medical purposes.
Medical laser systems differ in the levels of damage they are able to cause to tissues and organs and they are classified respectively. For example, Class 1 systems are unable to produce damage at all, neither to skin or other tissues nor to even eyes, at least, in case they are used in a right way. And Class 4 systems are able to cause severe damage and cut tissues quickly. They are typically used in surgeries like removal of various tumors, cutting and coagulating tissues.
Though recovery from a laser surgery is usually faster and easier than in case of traditional one, this type of surgery still comes with certain risks, associated with tissues damages (for example, pain and scars).
Cold (Low-Level) Laser
Cold laser used in neck and back pain treatment belongs to Class 3B. As you may have guessed from its name, it is characterized by lower temperature than lasers, used in surgeries. It is also known as low-level laser and it has been used in chiropractic for about 20 years already.
Unlike Class 1 laser systems, cold laser possesses some risks. It may cause serious eye injuries and damage skin in case of direct contact with it. However, it is quite safe when used by a certified practitioner.
Chiropractors use cold laser as a way to treat pain in joints and spine. Presumably, it is an effective complementary remedy both for acute and chronic pains and many patients find it beneficial.
So, Does It Really Work?
Just like all the other alternative treatments, cold laser is extremely effective for some people and completely useless for the other. However, there are some studies that prove that it is actually able to relieve pain that is not caused by any type of trauma. Its other advantages include complete lack of side-effects — once again, if it is used in a right way.
This is why it is a recommended complementary treatment (in this case, it may be used along with exercises, massage, analgesics, and so on) and part of physical therapy plans. It is used in case of various musculoskeletal disorders and as a short-term relief for neck and back pain.