LASER is an acronym that means “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”. It is used extensively across all fields of science and has many, many practical applications in everyday life, from the hand-held pointer used by professors and teachers; to engraving and other machining applications; and so many more.
The multitude of applications, even just within medicine, beauty and health care, renders the term ‘laser’ confusing, to say the least. And so we go to the effect. Within healthcare, low intensity lasers create a photobiomodulation effect. In a process similar to how the body manufactures vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, the body is able to use red and infrared light energy to stimulate the healing process.
We partner with Meditech Inc, the people who manufacture the Bioflex lasers. These laser devices are approved by Health Canada and are the result of extensive and on-going clinical research. All of Bioflex laser devices are programmable, allowing custom treatment protocols, based on an individual’s requirements. They provide effective pain relief; resolve inflammation and speed the healing process. Photobiomodulation works for everyone with a need and an ability to heal; and it is particularly appreciated by those who can’t tolerate or don’t like to take NSAID’s and other pain medication.
When your muscle and joint system is impacted by your pain, getting better will also involve checking out your muscle function. This is critical to getting better, because muscles are a main culprit in so many pain conditions. Muscles cause pain when they don't function well; and they acquire poor function and will perpetuate pain when not in normal use for a period of time. Whether muscles cause or follow trauma or pain conditions, your muscle function needs to be up to task in order to achieve best treatment results.
Will you benefit from photobiomodulation?
Most certainly, if your pain stems from:
- Trauma, both old and new
- Inflammation, both acute and chronic
- Wound or incision scars
- Delayed healing
- Most nerve related pain conditions
- Concussion & post concussion pain conditions
- And many other conditions
Some conditions are not improved by laser, including:
- Complex pain conditions which require psychological management,
- Neurological pain originating from severely crushed or surgically removed nerves, such as the phantom pain following amputation
Ask if you’re a good candidate for Laser. Ask your physiotherapist or other knowledgeable health care provider…not just any physio/health care provider. Look for one who has acquired the additional certification, and has advanced knowledge of low intensity laser and photobiomodulation. In general, laser therapy is not an area of intensive study at university, for any health care provider, or for physicians. For this reason, we offer a complimentary, virtual ‘Discovery Session’ - a 15 minute phone consult with a qualified provider - to determine if you’re a good candidate for laser therapy…call the clinic at 709-753-0155.
How long does it take for photobiomodulation to work?
This is a very variable calculation! Contributing factors include the nature of the injury, how long ago it occurred and an individual’s general health.
In general, if dealing with a new or very recent injury to muscle, ligament, nerve, etc, clinical research reports that there is an average 40% acceleration of the healing process; e.g. a torn ligament that might have been expected to heal in 8 weeks, can heal in 5 weeks.
We regularly observe that our most satisfied clients are those with long standing pain, frequently the result of old trauma. For these clients, we expect to see some pain relief within 4 to 6 treatment sessions, which indicates that the photobiomodulation effect is occurring; and is the real beginning of an individual’s treatment plan. From there, how much treatment is needed really depends upon the nature of the original injury; it can take just a few or many weeks, even months to complete the treatment program. What we have observed is that our clients are the drivers of the duration of treatment. Most will continue laser as long as they see continuing improvement. We encourage regular treatment until 60% or better functional improvement has been achieved, then transfer to a maintenance plan with occasional ‘booster’ laser. It is common to see continuing, if slower, improvement throughout the maintenance phase of treatment.
It is worth noting the very positive effect that laser has on arthritic pain, especially osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. These conditions are known to progress, in terms of damage to a joint, severity of pain and disability. Laser provides effective pain relief, improves mobility and ‘heals’ damaged cartilage. Healing cartilage is a relative concept, dependent upon the severity of cartilage damage. As degeneration progress, cartilage is destroyed, culminating in the ‘bone on bone’ situation which often heralds joint replacement surgery. Laser can heal early cartilage damage, but cannot replace the missing cartilage of severe arthritis. Even in late stage arthritis, laser can provide good pain relief and slow down the degenerative process.
Is at-home laser therapy as good as in-clinic laser therapy?
They are two different, sometimes complementary; and both effective treatment strategies.
The at-home rental option was a response to pandemic restrictions; and it proved to be an effective treatment option for many. It differs from in-clinic laser therapy in that the equipment used is not as powerful and it does not include use of the laser probe (for safety reasons). You can, however, treat more frequently with the personal laser devices. It may take a little longer to see treatment effects, but the pandemic evidence is clear…treatment with the personal laser device is effective.
In-clinic laser therapy uses the more powerful professional equipment, and usually includes use of the laser probe. In a three-step treatment process, the laser probe follows irradiation with red light and then infrared light. The effect of this stacked treatment is that the beam from the laser probe will penetrate more deeply into tissue, and will reach more of the damaged or under-performing cells. In-clinic laser therapy treatment is usually provided 2 to 3 times per week initially, decreasing in frequency as symptoms subside, until the injury has healed.
Both in-clinic and at-home laser treatment strategies require good muscle function to achieve good treatment results.
The Recommended Treatment Plan
- Book a Free Discovery Session to determine if you're likely to benefit from the photobiomodulation effect.
- Book on-line Physiotherapy Assessment to determine where to place the treatment arrays as well as the details of the starting laser protocol. Included in the initial assessment is positioning and other home management strategies and early exercise strategies, if appropriate. Based on assessment findings and your goals for treatment, your treatment plan is developed.
- Option to include in-clinic treatment. If possible, this will enhance your treatment experience and may accelerate progress. Occasionally including the higher power of the professional arrays and laser probe serves to stimulate your response to laser; and works well for those who can occasionally receive treatment at the clinic.
- Complete Paperwork. Once paperwork is completed, we will order the rental unit from Bioflex and record your credit card information to set up payment. You will be invoiced once a month, with payment made to Avalon Laser Health. You can use the laser device for just one month, or as many months as you need. The personal laser device is sent directly from Bioflex, and delivered by courier to your home. Bioflex will troubleshoot technical issues.
Costs of Program:
|Rental of personal laser device||$500.00 + HST per month|
|Physiotherapy Subsequent Treatment||$85.00|
With the possible exception of some third party insurances, laser therapy is an out-of-pocket expense.
Physiotherapy is covered by most extended health insurers.