Class IV Laser Therapy
Lady Bug receives laser therapy for arthritis
Class IV Laser Therapy is the application of red and infrared laser light over an anatomical area to improve and augment wound and soft tissue healing and provide relief of acute and chronic pain. It is used to increase the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair, provide pain relief, resolve inflammation, improve function of damaged neurological tissue, and can even be used to stimulate acupuncture points without the use of needles.
This video demonstrates how laser light affects the body:
In order to penetrate tissue, light wavelength generally needs to be between 400 nm and 1000 nm. The wavelength of laser light varies with each individual model of laser, but most therapeutic lasers have wavelengths between 800 nm and 1000 nm. The longer the wavelength, the deeper the laser can penetrate into tissue.
Therapeutic lasers are typically either Class IIIb or Class IV. Class IIIb lasers are limited to less than 500 mW (0.5 W) of power. Class IV lasers have a power output greater than 500 mW, and include surgical lasers which cut tissue and therapeutic lasers which heal tissue. Higher power output allows the laser to penetrate deeper into tissue and reduces the treatment time. Many Class IV therapeutic lasers used today have power output as high as 10-20 W.
How does Laser Therapy work?
- Relieves Pain - decreases nerve sensitivity and stimulates release of the body's own natural pain killing chemicals, endorphins and enkephalins.
- Reduces Inflammation - inhibits synthesis of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins, increases blood circulation to tissue and reduces swelling.
- Accelerates Tissue Repair - accelerates cellular reproduction and growth. Cells have more energy to take on nutrients and eliminate waste products.
- Improves Tissue Blood Circulation - causes temporary vasodilation of blood vessels and stimulates formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue.
- Increases Cellular Metabolic Activity
- Reduces fibrous tissue formation which reduces scar formation. Existing scar tissue is stimulated to remodel into normal elastic tissue.
- Improves Nerve Function - speeds up the process of nerve regeneration, nerve cell reconnection and normalizes nerve impulse transmission to optimize muscle action and reduce pain transmission.
- Accelerates Wound Healing - stimulates production of fibroblasts, the building blocks of collagen. Collagen is the essential protein needed to replace old tissue or repair tissue injuries.
- Stimulates immunoregulation by directly stimulating immunoglobulins and lymphocytes.
- Stimulates acupuncture points for needleless acupuncture.
Is Laser Therapy safe?
Is Laser Therapy painful? How will my pet react during treatment?
How does laser therapy compare with acupuncture?
Are there contraindications to laser therapy?
- Any area of active hemorrhage.
- Any area injected with corticosteroids in the last 2-3 days.
- Over the abdominal or lumbosacral regions in pregnant animals.
- Over the testicles.
- Over a suspected tumor or any cancerous lesion.
- Over the thorax of animals with heart problems.
- Over epiphyseal plates of young animals
- Animals currently taking photosensitive medications (e.g. tetracycline, griseofulvin)
What conditions respond to Laser Therapy?
- Acute or chronic pain from illness or injury
- Musculoskeletal and neurological problems
- Intervertebral disk disease
- Nerve injury/paralysis
- Tendon/ligament injury
- Post operative orthopedic surgeries
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Edema/swelling due to surgery or trauma
- Improves response to physical therapy
- Dermatologic conditions
- Pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots)
- Lick granulomas
- Cat bite abscess
- Acupuncture point stimulation
How many Laser treatments are needed?