The Benefits of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Chiropractic
When the vertebrae are moved back into their proper positions, pressure or blockages on the nerves leading to and from the spine are released, enabling the body to heal itself. Certainly, there has been a vast trove of published research that shows evidence for the ability of joint manipulation to treat a wide variety of conditions, including pain and stiffness.
However, as Chiropractic has evolved over the years, Chiropractors have learned to embrace a wide number of other treatment options, ranging from Massage Therapy, to Electrotherapy, to Low-Level Laser Therapy. By combining each of these treatments with Chiropractic, Chiropractors are now able to treat a much wider variety of conditions than just those centered on the spine. Low-Level Laser Therapy, also sometimes referred to as Cold Laser Therapy, has some especially fascinating treatment potential. Previous research has shown that lasers may have several therapeutic benefits, including accelerating wound healing, as well as treating pain and stiffness.
Blending Chiropractic Care Treatment Options
An article published in the March-April 2011 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiologic Therapeutics presented the findings from a randomized, controlled study to compare the benefits of Chiropractic manipulations and Low-Level Laser Therapy for the treatment of cervical facet pain and range of motion dysfunction. A group of 60 patients between the ages of 18 and 40 were selected, all of whom had pain and restricted range of motion in the cervical area of the spine for at least one month’s duration. The patients were randomized into one of three groups: (1) Chiropractic manipulation (CMT); (2) Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLT); or (3) a combination of the two treatments. All patients received six treatments over three weeks.
All the patients reported the same baseline levels of pain and restricted range of motion. At the end of the treatments, there was a major difference between both Groups 1 and 2 and Groups 1 and 3 in terms of cervical range of motion. There was also a noteworthy difference between Groups 2 and 3 in terms of both pain and range of motion. Although all three groups improved from baseline measurements, the group that underwent a combination of Chiropractic manipulation and Low-Level Laser Therapy showed more improvement than either of the two treatments alone. The researchers noted: “Both therapies are indicated as potentially beneficial treatments for cervical facet dysfunction. Further studies are needed to explore optimal treatment procedures for CMT and LLLT and the possible mechanism of interaction between therapies.”
Although it is essential that Chiropractors remember the history of Chiropractic, they must also be open to incorporate therapies that can help them improve their bottom line, as well as provide their patients with more beneficial care.