Low Level Laser Therapy

What is Low Level Laser Therapy?

Low Level Laser Therapy uses the therapeutic power of light to stimulate biological processes and facilitate tissue recovery. The scientific term for the therapy is Photobiomodulation which means that through light, the biology is regulated or adjusted.

The therapy delivers a specific spectrum of light via either an LED or Laser which, once applied to the area treated, is absorbed by the cells activating multiple biochemical responses. These responses include modifying inflammation, stimulating cellular repair mechanisms, and enhancing recovery from trauma and injury. (1, 4)

The therapy uses low intensity laser light in a therapeutic range, does not heat, cut or damage tissue and has no significant reported adverse effects. (2,5,6)

The overall result of these processes may provide a reduction or elimination of symptoms including pain, improved mobility of tissues and joints and enhanced quality of life. (2)

Clinical benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy

  • May reduce or eliminate pain (1,3,5,6,9,10)
  • May reduce inflammation (5,11)
  • May restore range of motion and physical function (6,7,8,9)
  • Non-invasive/non-toxic (1)
  • No significant reported adverse effects (2,5,6)
  • May provide a treatment alternative for patients that have not responded to other treatment modalities

Low Level Laser Therapy may be clinically effective for a range of conditions


In the last 10 years, numerous systematic reviews havefound in favour of Low Level Laser Therapy. Please see below for references.

Soft tissue conditions and sports injuries

– Ligament/tendon/muscle tears (4)
– Myofascial pain (1)
– Knee dysfunction/injury (5)


Neck and spinal conditions

– Chronic lower back pain (2)
– Acute and chronic neck pain (10)
– Muscle and joint pain/inflammation (5)


Inflammatory conditions

– Tendonitis (Rotator cuff/Achilles etc.) (8)
– Plantar fasciitis (9)
– Rheumatoid arthritis (5)


Repetitive stress injuries

– Tennis elbow/epicondylitis (6)
– Carpal tunnel syndrome (7)


Degenerative conditions

– Osteoarthritis (5)

Frequently asked questions – Low Level Laser Therapy

How long does a treatment take?

Treatments are typically forty minutes to one hour in duration depending on the condition being treated.

Are there any side effects?

Unlike most pharmaceuticals and other therapeutic options, laser therapy is non-toxic, non-invasive and multiple clinical trials have reported no significant adverse effects. (1,2)

How many treatments are required?

The number of treatments will depend on the condition, how chronic the condition is and the extent of the tissue damage involved. The majority of people will experience change within 3-5 treatments. An individual’s response to laser therapy will vary to some degree based on the genetic makeup of the cells.

Is treatment covered by my health fund?

As our practitioners are osteopaths, low level laser therapy is a modality within the scope of osteopathy. If your health fund covers osteopathy, then you may receive a rebate for low level laser therapy.

What training have your osteopaths had in laser therapy?

Our osteopaths have received training from Meditech International, the creators of BioFlex Laser, and from the Australian Medical Laser Association. As osteopaths, they are using the BioFlex Laser Therapy system to treat musculoskeletal conditions. They are the first practitioners to offer treatment with the BioFlex Laser Therapy system in Sydney.

For more information visit: bioflexlaser.com; Dr Kahn’s blog at fredkahnmd.com; and Dr Norman Doidge’s website at normandoidge.com.

References

  1. Khalighi, HR. Mortazavi, H. Mojahedi SM. Azari-Marhabi, S. & Abbasabadi, FM. (2016) Low Level Laser Therapy Versus Pharmacotherapy in Improving Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Journal of Lasers in Medical Science Winter, 7(1):45-50
  2. Glazov, G. Yelland, M. & Emery, J. (2016) Low-level laser therapy for chronic non-specific low back pain (CNLBP): a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, British Medical Journal, Oct; 34(5): 328-341
  3. Jang, H. & Lee, H. (2012) Meta-analysis of pain relief effects by laser irradiation on joint areas, Photomedicine and Laser Surg. Aug; 30(8): 405-417
  4. Bjordal, JM. Johnson, MI. Iversen, V. Aimbrie, F. & Lopes-Martins, RA. (2006) Low-level laser therapy in acute pain: a systematic review of possible mechanisms of action and clinical effects in randomized placebo-controlled trials, Photomedicine and Laser Surg. Volume 24, Number 2: 158-168
  5. Bjordal, JM. Couppe C. Chow RT. Turner, J. & Ljunggren, EA. (2003) A systematic review of low level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders, Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, Volume 49, Issue 2, pages 107-116
  6. Bisset, L. Coombes, B. & Vicenzino, B. (2011) Tennis Elbow, British Medical Journal; 2011:1117
  7. Li, ZJ. Wang, Y. Zhang, HF. Ma, XL. Tian, P. & Huang, Y. (2016) Effectiveness of low-level laser on carpal tunnel syndrome: a meta-analysis of previously reported randomized trials, Medicine (Baltimore), Aug; 95(31): e4424
  8. Carcia, CR. Martin, RL. Houck, J. & Wukich, DK. (2010) Achilles Pain, Stiffness, and Muscle Power Deficits: Achilles Tendinitis – Clinical Practice Guidelines, American Physical Therapy Association – Orthopaedic Section:40(9):A1-A26
  9. Ulusoy, A. Cerrahoglu, L. & Orguc, S. (2017) Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Clinical Outcomes of Laser Therapy, Ultrasound Therapy, and Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Treatment of Plantar Fascitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Foot & Ankle Surgery 56: 762-767
  10. Chow, RT.Johnson, MI. Lopes-Martins, RAB. & Bjordal, JM. (2009) Efficiacy of low-level laser therapy in the management of neck pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo or active-treatment controlled trials, Lancet, Nov
  11. Christie A. Jamtvedt, G. Dahm, KT. Moe, RH. Haavardsholm, EA. & Hagen, KB, (2007) Effectiveness of nonpharmacological and nonsurgical interventions for patients with rheumatoid arthritis: an overview of systematic reviews, Physical Therapy, Dec 

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Balmain Osteopaths is a family oriented clinic that has been part of the Balmain Rozelle community in the inner west of Sydney for over 20 years. We value communication, care and personalised services that contribute to the wellbeing of our patients, staff and practitioners.

Phone: 02 9555 9967

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