Laser Therapy - Part 6
General Principles of Clinical Use
- The clinical application of the Therapeutic Laser is to minimize and control pain, swelling and inflammation; aid and increase the rate of healing; and most importantly - alleviate the cause or source of the pain, inflammation or pathological lesion.
- The laser photons will only stimulate or affect the cells already damaged, leaving the normal, healthy cells unchanged.
- Each therapy session is cumulative - generally after 3 - 4 sessions, a good response to the therapy can be noted, and with each successive treatment, continued improvement is expected until resolution of the clinical problem is accomplished.
- Early, aggressive treatment in the course of the disease will optimize the clinical outcome. After the first several weeks, when the initial symptoms are diminished, the frequency of treatment can be reduced to a schedule designed to maintain the desired results.
- In certain conditions, especially chronic, musculoskeletal disorders, the patient may experience an increase in pain or discomfort after the first and/or second session. This is evidence that the damaged tissue cells are being stimulated and that the initiation of healing has begun. By the third session, these patients usually realize the benefit of the therapy.
- Several different disorders or conditions on the same patient can be treated simultaneously.
- The established goal or desired outcome following laser therapy needs to be realistic and expressed at the beginning of treatment. It is impossible to make an old patient young again, but with the help of the therapeutic laser, they may begin to feel that way.
- Most importantly, healing cannot begin with the patient until therapy is initiated. In veterinary medicine today (as well as human medicine) the focus is an evidence-based (scientifically proven) practice of medicine. With laser therapy, since the photons only affect abnormal cells, treatment can be started with only a tentative or working diagnosis. If and when a definitive diagnosis is made, adjustments to therapy can be made as indicated.
In Nike's words, "Just do it" - I'll think that you and your pet will be grateful that you did. You should expect a relief of their symptoms, a restoration of their joints' range of motion and function, a reduction in the usage of medications, and a noticeable improvement in your pet's quality of life.
As I begin to discuss specific case studies in future articles, I hope that you will gain a better understanding of the phenomenal benefits of laser therapy, that may help in your decisions regarding the care of your pet.
William T. Carlisle, DVM