Cold Laser: Frequently Asked Questions
By Steven Hines, DC
What does a cold laser treatment feel like? Is it painful?
There is typically little to no sensation during treatment and some patients experience the occasional mild soothing warmth or tingling.
How long does a cold laser treatment take?
The typical treatment time is 5-10 minutes. Depending on the surface area and the condition being treated, the treatment times can be as little as 2 minutes and as long as 15 minutes.
Are there any risks or side effects and is it safe?
During more than 20 years of use by health care providers all over the world, few side effects have ever been reported. If a patient is allergic to light they may experience a rash or blister for a few days. Since the body keeps a template of every experience throughout life, occasionally, previous old injuries or pain disorders may feel aggravated for a few days, as the healing response stays active days after treatment.
How often should I be treated with cold laser?
Acute conditions may be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant pain. Chronic problems respond best when treatments are scheduled 2-3x/wk. and tapering down to 1x/wk. as the condition improves.
How many treatments on average is a therapeutic dose?
This depends on the nature of the condition being treated. For some acute conditions 1-6 treatments may be sufficient. More chronic conditions may require 10-20 (or more) treatments. Conditions such as severe arthritis may require ongoing periodic care to control pain.
How long does it take before I can begin to feel results?
You may feel a reduction in pain after the first treatment or sometimes it takes several treatments. You may feel nothing is happening, however, remember the exponential benefit of what you are receiving. Each cold laser therapy is cumulative and builds upon the previous treatment. Results are often felt after 2-3 treatments.
Can cold laser therapy be used in conjunction with my chiropractic adjustments?
Unequivocally, yes. While chiropractic attempts to remove nerve interference at the level of the intervertebral foramen (IVF) and subsequently decrease nerve pressure and diminish inflammation, the cold laser therapy is the ideal modality for assisting in the reduction of inflammation at the nerve root level. It has been suggested that the two work synergistically. Each modality complements the other in order to reach the same therapeutic goal.