Pain relief through the use of laser therapy is becoming more common. There are two common types of pain lasers used by doctors – the Class IV and the Class IIIB.
The Class IV Laser is a high powered infrared light device. Infrared lasers are intended to emit energy in the infrared spectrum to provide topical deep heating for the purpose of elevating tissue temperature. The therapy is mechanically and/ or thermally killing the pain. This is usually accomplished by thermally ablating the fine sensory nerve endings to stop the sensation of pain. In other words, there is no pain because the nerves have been damaged.
In fact, there is a FDA warning on Class IV lasers: “immediate skin hazard and eye hazard from exposure to either the direct or reflective beam; may also present a fire hazard.”
The Class IIIB laser does not heat the tissue. It stimulates healing using a mechanism called photobiomodulation. Much like photosynthesis, where a plant takes the Sun’s energy and converts to its own energy, the photons of the laser energy pass through the skin where the energy is absorbed by the cell and converted into its own energy. The cell then takes that extra energy to help heal and repair damaged tissues by increasing oxygen levels and releasing healing enzymes.
The Class IIIB cold laser therapy, also known as Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), reduces pain by producing endorphins, reduces inflammation, stimulates nerve regeneration and increase the immune response. It is a true healing therapy. Many of the health claims made by the Class IV laser are in fact based on the studies using the Class III laser.
If you are interested in learning more about pain relief through the use of LLLT, please call our office at 479-587-0227 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gibson