Benefits of laser therapy (Photobiomodulation)
We use laser therapy for a lot of different things. In medicine, we use them to stimulate the repair and formation of new tissue, to relieve inflammation and to decrease pain. A laser is a machine that we can use for physical medicine, meaning a treatment that actually changes the chemistry and physics of the body.
How does this happen?
The light from the laser is applied to above the skin from a handpiece that is targeted to the area we want to treat, specifically. The light is dissipated as heat that will activate Cytochrome C inside mitochondria and the result is that the cell can make more ATP for energy and more Nitric Oxide (NO) which can dilate blood vessels and stimulate growth factor production.
I know this seems abstract, I like to think about this like energy from the sun to activate chemistry in the cells.
What kinds of physical problems is laser best at treating?
• Neurologic pain and disease creating weakness: IVDD, DM
• Wounds: after surgery, or an injury
• Skin Infections
Are there any contraindications?
• For safety, we wear glasses that protect our eyes from too much exposure.
• Cancer: there is concern that laser will make cancer cells stronger, the studies are still being conducted, so we don’t treat cancer directly.
• Dogs less than 1yr old: we do not treat developing growth plates in the bones of young animals.
When will I notice a difference and how long does it last?
I often hear clients say that their dogs will allow more massage right away and that the dogs are moving better for a few days afterwards. Treatment consistently for up to two weeks often yields longer pain relief from arthritis.
Can I do this at home?
You bet. In fact, if you treat your dog at home it reduces stress for everyone and treating them daily has more benefit than weekly treatments as the treatments are cumulative. That said, the lasers approved for home use do not have as much energy as those used in the clinic. For painful conditions or neurologic conditions, we often recommend laser in the clinic as well.
We often rent out My Pet Lasers, if you have rented one and want to see treatment videos, they are on You Tube from this company!
Scanning down either side of the spine on Setting #3 (1000 Hz) for 5 min
- Treat arthritis by slowly scanning around and inside affected joints with Setting #1 (50 Hz), and I like to use it for a minute over each area until the whole joint area has been treated.
- In general, this will take 15 - 20 min per treatment, and we treat daily for 7 days, and then every other day for seven days (or up to 3x per day for more painful conditions).
- If we are treating arthritis long-term, it is recommended to sometimes use Setting #2 (250HZ) as a sweeping stimulatory protocol to prevent the tissues from adapting to Setting #1. I like to use this every 2-3 treatments over the joints.
Can I buy one?
Yes! With a veterinary prescription, I can often get you a discount as well.
Take a look at this one.
Scientific papers about Photobiomodulation:
Elbow Arthritis in dogs
Wound healing after back surgery
ACL model in rats