Photobiomodulation is the use of near-infrared light to stimulate cells in the affected area creating quicker tissue repair that reduces inflammation and pain. This low-level light therapy is applied with detailed wavelengths, intensity, and dosing according to individual diagnosis. The use of a laser to administer the light allows for a deeper penetration of the skin to reach damaged cells.
Many people suffer from back pain at some time in their lives. Of those who develop acute low-back pain (LBP), up to 30% will go on to develop chronic LBP. The toll on individuals, families and society makes the successful management of this common, but benign condition an important goal.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is used by some physiotherapists to treat LBP. LLLT is a non-invasive light source treatment that generates a single wavelength of light. It emits no heat, sound, or vibration. It is also called photobiology or biostimulation. LLLT is believed to affect the function of connective tissue cells (fibroblasts), accelerate connective tissue repair and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Lasers with different wavelengths, varying from 632 to 904 nm, are used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.
The Physical Benefits of a Light Source
Therapy of this nature is effective by accessing the mitochondria enzymes of the body with the appropriate wavelength turning this light energy into ATP for cellular use.
Mitochondria enzymes of the damaged area can not operate at an effective level which creates inflammation and pain. Assisting with the creation of ATP is recreating the normal functions found in a healthy individual while the damaged area is healing.
The creation of ATP through low-level light therapy also improves circulation by dilating the blood vessels. ATP interacts with the nitric oxide (NO) used by the body system to communicate between cells in the circulation process. The flow of blood in the body is necessary to promote any form of healing.
This artificial light source is not new to the body. The body uses sunlight sources in a similar manner producing Vitamin D through our skin when exposed to the outdoors for particular lengths of time. Exposing our eyes to the sunshine via the outdoors gives these rays access to our photo-sensitive retina which stimulates the pituitary glands in our brains assisting with the maintenance of an essential vital organ of the body. However with photobiomodulation, the harmful effects of UV rays are taken out so that only the beneficial spectrum of light is absorbed. Applying low-level light therapy to damaged tissue areas at the cellular level offers similar assistance to the maintenance of physical functions.
How it helps YOU
As an athlete, photobiomodulation quickens recovery so that your training goes smoothly. It’s a popular recovery tool used by elite athletes in the USA and in Europe. For those who have general aches and pains, photobiomodulation assists with decreasing pain; for skin, it helps reduce pigmentation (used in aesthetic clinics); for the brain, it helps with mental clarity and acuteness (neurosurgeons are referring clients to use).