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)
Tennis elbow
Pressure sores
Migraine headaches
Fibromyalgia / Myofascial pain
Golfer’s elbow
Herpes simplex
Plantar fascitis
Lower back pain
Sprains and strains
Wound Healing / Soft tissue injuries
Repetitive Stress Injuries (RTI)
Post-operative wounds
Rotator cuff injury
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Knee, foot, ankle pain
  • At 77 years of age, having lived a very active life as an architect and property developer, I was told by my neurologists and orthopedic surgeon that my chronic lower back and leg pains (bulging disc) complicated by my imbalance and incontinence at this point could only be treated with surgery and/or heavy pain medications. Neither were acceptable options to me. My daughter had heard through the media that spinal decompression was accomplishing outstanding success in treating these problems.

    A new hope was born when I met with Dr. Peter Huynh and he reviewed my MRI. He assured me this non-invasive treatment could be of significant help to me. I now stand taller, my balance has improved, I have more energy and he was able to correct my posture and gait. Now, as I leave 8 weeks of inspirational treatment by a most talented and considerate doctor and friend, I’m going home to finish the leaf raking, and home maintenance that have been neglected for years.

    Thank you Dr. Peter for giving my life back to me.

    - Phil Brown
  • I am a 44 year old self employed housekeeper. I was previously diagnosed with several herniated discs. After several alternative treatments which included different medications, therapies, steroids and spinal injections, I became very frustrated with the life altering condition that I was dealing with.

    Dr. Huynh changed my physical and mental outlook with his decompression treatment. I highly recommend it in lieu of surgery or other treatments. Thanks so much!

    - Tamara Jones
  • I sought treatment from Dr. Pete in summer after having a relapse of severe low back pain and sciatica. I first started having trouble w/ back 6 years ago after a basketball injury that resulted in two herniated discs. I’ve been to numerous doctors both before and after the surgery and none had ever really taken the time to listen. I felt they needed to know about my pain and history to correctly treat my condition but never took the time. I went to Dr. Pete after a severe episode of sciatica that left me laid up in bed for a couple days. I could barely even walk into his office. After so many years of treatments and reading up the condition it sounded like I could really benefit from spinal decompression. We started with gentle decompression and advanced from there. Dr. Pete put me on a complete regimen of stretches and core strengthening exercises. A lot of exercises and techniques I’d never seen before but have really helped eliminate my pain, improve posture, and I even lost a few pounds. Dr. Pete is the only doctor out of more than a dozen I’ve visited who has helped me find relief and he has my complete trust and confidence. On the first visit Dr. Pete promised he’d help me get my life back and he did exactly that!! I can now be as active as I want pain free.

    - Stuart Howard
  • I have had three spinal surgeries, yet I was still suffering from severe back pain with sciatica pain down my leg. It was impossible to get up in the morning and difficult to sit for short periods of time. I have tried everything from physical therapy to acupuncture. Only half way through the spinal decompression treatment, my sciatica was gone and back pain greatly diminished. Now I can fully enjoy my retirement.

    - Paul Vu
  • Running is my life. I have run three marathons, but have been unable to run due to pain down my right leg. Even my golf game has suffered considerably. With Dr. Peter’s unique approach to disc injuries, I am back to running again. I definitely recommend disc decompression as the effective, safer and conservative approach to surgery.

    - Laura Watson
  • After many years of hard labor my degenerated disc herniated, causing not only sharp back pain but pain down both my legs. It became impossible to take care of my family let alone myself. With Dr. Peter Huynh’s tailored rehab program and spinal decompression therapy, I am back on my feet and feeling great!

    - Lan Nguyen
  • My MRIs show that I have multiple disc herniations in both my neck and low back regions. I have tried herbal medicine, massage therapy, traction tables and many other devices. For years I have lived with painful muscle spasms, numbness in my arm, and pain in my legs. Thanks to Spinal Health Group, I no longer suffer from any nerve pain in my arms or legs.

    - Ba Tran