Phototherapy has been used worldwide to treat more than 150 different conditions.  In particular, Cold Laser Therapy, also commonly known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), is a sterile, non-invasive and FDA approved procedure used to treat a variety of pain syndromes.  Our center is leading the way in providing a comprehensive approach to spinal care and rehabilitation by being one of the first in the Northern Virginia area to offer this technology.
Cold Laser Therapy has a specific photobiomodulation effect on body tissues, meaning that chemical changes occur in the cells and tissues in response to phototherapy.  These effects are classified as primary, secondary and tertiary tissue effects.

Primary tissue effects are direct chemical effects on cells.  Mainly this includes increased ATP production in the cell mitochondria.  ATP is the cellular fuel our body uses to function.  The more ATP in our cells, the faster healing occurs.  Phototherapy also increases cell membrane permeability.  This means waste products within the cell can be removed quickly and nutrients can move into the cell more efficiently.
Secondary tissue effects are "chain reaction" effects in response to the primary cellular effects.  They include anti-inflammatory effects, a decrease in nerve irritability, and an increase in circulation at the site of injury.
Tertiary tissue effects include a variety of whole-body effects such as improvement of nerve function.  Equal in importance is increased immune cell production (lymphocytes) and increased pain relieving endorphin production.

Phototherapy applies red or near infra-red light over injuries or lesions to improve wound/ soft tissue healing and give relief for both acute and chronic pain.  The light waves penetrate deeply into the skin.  Cold Laser Therapy reduces healing duration 30-40% and the injured tissues are stronger than if they had not been exposed to phototherapy.  In short phototherapy is used to:

  • Increase the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair
  • Give pain relief
  • Resolve inflammation

Red or near infra-red light (600nm-1000nm) can be produced by laser or high intensity LED which typically delivers 5mW - 1000mW (0.2 – 1.0 Watts).  According to the U.S. military research center at Uniformed Services University, 810nm is the best penetrating wavelength.  There is no heating effect.  Phototherapy is painless, non-toxic, non-invasive and thus very safe if applied by a trained practitioner.

Phototherapy is popularly used for:

  • Pain relief (muscles, joints, nerves)
  • Whiplash
  • Plantar fascitis
  • Wound Healing / Soft tissue injuries
  • Trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Migraine headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries (RTI)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
  • Tendonitis
  • Fibromyalgia / Myofascial pain
  • Sprains and strains
  • Post-operative wounds
  • Knee, foot, ankle pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • TMJ
  • Swelling
  • Burns
  • Pressure sores
  • Herpes simplex
  • Acne
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Osteoarthritis