Cold laser therapy is a newer procedure with several advantages and disadvantages. This article outlines some of the advantages, risks, and contraindications for cold laser therapy
Potential Cold Laser Therapy Advantages
Cold laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that it does not require a surgical incision. This means that there is no prolonged recovery time. Laser therapy also does not involve taking any medications, and many patients prefer to avoid taking medications. Studies have so far found that cold laser therapy does not have serious side effects when used properly by a doctor.
Potential Cold Laser Therapy Disadvantages
Cold laser therapy does have several disadvantages. Patients do not typically get full relief or resolution from their pain symptoms after the first treatment. It takes a series of treatments, usually 8 to 30, depending on the severity and duration of the condition. Patients often have to return to the doctor for treatments at least 2 to 4 times per week. Old injuries may be aggravated for a few days after treatments, but for most patients this sensation is short term, lasting for a couple of days.
Medicare and Medicaid do not cover cold laser therapy expenses. Some major medical insurance carriers do assist with payment and others do not cover any of the treatment.
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Cold laser therapy should not be used over any suspicious cancerous lesions, or carcinoma, over the thyroid, on pregnant patients, and there should not be direct irradiation of the eyes, as the laser can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Pregnant women are recommended not to undergo the procedure, since its effects on unborn children are not yet known. The doctor and the patient should use protective eyeglasses so that there is no direct eye exposure.
Cold laser therapy is one option among a variety of treatment approaches that can potentially provide pain relief or pain reduction, especially for patients seeking a treatment without the use of surgery or drugs. It can be used alone or in combination with a number of other therapies.
While it is still a relatively new treatment option and there is incomplete information about its optimal treatment protocol, it is considered a viable treatment option for those seeking an alternative to invasive treatment. Cold laser therapy is yet another method in the set of tools to help assist in pain relief, and it is considered a reasonable treatment option for certain types of pain by most health care professionals.