Different seasons bring different risks for pains, strains, bumps and bruises. Winter features a slew of lower back soreness from shoveling, achy knees from skiing, and all kinds of tweaks and twists from slipping on the ice. It can feel like the storm and the pain cycles are interconnected. There exists a healing therapy, called low level laser therapy, that can help you with these injuries.

Trauma from injury or repetitive stress causes damage to the cells that make up the muscles, tendons and ligaments (soft tissues). These damaged cells release chemicals that provoke a natural inflammatory response in the body. This results in pain and swelling in the injured area. I’m sure you are all familiar with this process. Laser light energy can be used to gently penetrate deep into the tissue to stimulate healing and create an anti-inflammatory response. It also increases circulation and cellular energy levels to aid in tissue repair and relief from pain.

Time for a quick science lesson. Laser therapy acts through the effects of photobiomodulation. Broken down, “photo” means using light energy also know as phontons,  “bio” is a living cell and “modulation” meaning to modify or positively affects the cellular functions. In this case to transmit deep into the tissue to effectively charge up the cells to increase their work capacity. A greater work capacity equates to a faster rate and higher quality of tissue healing and/or recovery.

Cold laser is a common term used when referring to therapeutic laser use. That simply means that this technology does not create heat in the tissue, therefore, a lot of power can be generated to stimulate healing without risk of burning or heating up the area. The technology behind laser is anchored in science and therefore is a healing modality that I feel confident using with patients. It is well researched and there are countless studies supporting its benefits, as well as safety. Laser therapy is used by athletes and professional sports teams to treat inflammation, provide deep-tissue therapy and accelerate pain relief to help improve recovery time. For the past decade low level laser therapy has revolutionized treatment in the professional sports world, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, USA Cycling, Ironman and elite crossfitters. In my office, we have treated professional climbers with shoulder injuries, top-ranked ultra-runners, top NFL draft picks and Olympic mogul skiers, to name a few.

Who can benefit from laser therapy? In general, this therapy is stimulating a healing response whether acute or chronic injury exists. It can help the inflammation caused by arthritis or degenerative joint disease, or more acute conditions such as an ankle or lower back sprain. Often following a bad strain or sprain, tendonitis can be a result, and I find in my office that low level laser therapy is one of the best ways to treat and get rid of tendonitis. It can also be used as a pre-hab modality to help normalize tissue before surgery and is also effective as a post-surgical therapy to improve surgical outcomes.  

We all want to get back in the game as soon as possible, and as the next storm cycle approaches, it is important to be feeling whole and pain free. Low level laser therapy is an excellent option to help speed the healing process and get back out there as soon as possible. In our office, we use multi-radiance laser. If you would like more information, visit balancenaturalmedicine.com to check out more information about this therapy. Laser therapy is available in my office in Telluride on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the Ridgway office.

To schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Jessica Balbo at Alison Palmer Physical Therapy and Wellness Center at  612-384-3529 or drbalbo@gmail.com