LASER therapy: is it as scary as it sounds?
I absolutely LOVE my LASER machine so I end up using it a lot, but with good reason! It really is a wonderful piece of kit that has made such a huge difference to my physiotherapy sessions. But what is it?
Ok we'll start with the nerdy stuff...
LASER stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation - so you can see why we call it LASER for short! This basically means that it uses light energy, specifically red light energy, at a certain wavelength to be absorbed by the tissues we're targeting. The type of LASER that we use for therapeutic purposes is also referred to as:
- Cold LASER therapy
- Low level LASER therapy (LLLT)
Which differs from the surgical LASERs used to remove tumours etc.
When the body tissues absorb the light, they're given the boost they need to start to regenerate, which is how we get accelerated healing.
So is it scary? NO!
Although my LASER machine makes a fair bit of noise, there is no sensation at all coming from the probe on the animals skin. They will feel no vibrations, no pain, and no excessive heat (it does sometimes get a little warm but nothing nasty). The treatments can last anywhere from 1-20 minutes depending on how many areas need treating.
And now the reasons why I love it so much...
It has SO many uses and very few contraindications, which is why I end up using it so much. It's biggest flex is pain relief and it has been known to replace the need for medicinal drugs in some cases. I also use it for tissue repair, whether that be bone, joint, muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia, or skin!
LASER is my right hand man for any arthritis cases, as we can reduce pain, reduce swelling, heal the joint as much as possible, and prevent any further damage. I also use it for muscle trigger points (knots) that are difficult and painful to ease out with massage alone.
Now, I am a personal advocate for my LASER machine because I have secretly used it on myself on many occasions. Here's a brief summary of my love story with the LASER:
-Following a fall from my horse where he decided to launch me into a jump wing I had a suspected hair-line fracture in my tibia so I couldn't fully bear weight on my left leg and I had severe swelling and bruising where I hit the pole right in the centre of my shin. The video below was taken the day after, and you can see my whole shin is bruised, and there's even bruising down and across my foot.
I obviously restricted my exercise, and starting icing it for 15 minutes three times a day (got to practice what I preach!) but I also started using the LASER twice a day.
This picture was taken just 4 days after the video, where the bruising is still present although greatly improved. The swelling and pain had almost completely resided and I was able to fully walk on it again. The main thing I noticed was how much the pain had reduced. The first night I struggled to sleep because I couldn't get my leg comfortable, but after a couple days of using the LASER I had started to forget I had even injured it! Now don't get me wrong, some of this is down to natural healing and I'm sure the pain would have resided eventually, but I am convinced it would have taken a lot longer.
-I have also used the LASER occasionally for lower back pain and sciatica, especially following particularly strenuous days at the yard where I've done a lot of manual lifting. This paired with the TENS machine - which I cover in another blog post - make me SO much more comfortable in the evenings.
-More recently I signed up to a running challenge where I was running 5k everyday for 10 days. The first couple of days everything was fine and dandy, but by the halfway mark my left knee was giving me HELL. So I started using the LASER twice a day, once before my run and once after. Now I also started wearing a knee support which also would have had an effect, but I do believe the LASER helped for the pain relief and any inflammation I was experiencing.
To cut a long story short - I love my LASER and will carry on using it wherever I can to keep your animals feeling tip-top! (and myself because it really is amazing)
I hope this has helped answer any questions you may have about LASER therapy, please do keep your eyes peeled for my future blog posts about other treatment therapies I offer!
Harley :) x