Class IV Laser Therapy: What is it and Could it Help You?

Class IV Laser Therapy is the modern non-invasive standard of care for musculoskeletal injuries. The approach uses red and infrared light wavelengths to create therapeutic effects. The laser transmits light to stimulate specific processes within the body to ease pain, swelling, as well as enhance motion.

How it Works

The red light wavelengths in Class IV Laser Therapy rapidly penetrate deeper and more efficiently into the affected nerves, ligaments, muscles, or tissues. The targeted tissue responds at the cellular level via cell metabolism.

The process stimulates ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for driving many functions in the cells, including speeding up healing. It also:

  • Promotes better circulation
  • Increases energy levels
  • Enhances neuron functions
  • Improves the immune defense
  • Inhibits platelet aggregation and coagulation
  • Activates the T-cells and macrophages by stimulating the immune system

Infrared light increases energy in therapies where fatigue is an issue. It also stimulates ATP production for cellular energy.

How Long Do Sessions Last?

Most therapy sessions range from 2-10, meaning it’s possible to treat injured muscles in multiple areas in a single session. The length and number of sessions depend on the depth, size, as well as magnitude of the condition. On average, 6-12 treatments will suffice to produce the desired results.

Is Class IV Laser Safe?

Class IV Laser Therapy devices are safe for use. They’re also FDA-approved for the safe and effective reduction of injury-related musculoskeletal pain. However, protective eyewear is necessary during the treatments.

You might also think that the process is painful, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to feel some soothing warmth in the target area. Class IV laser also delivers pain-free relief to users. In fact, peer-reviewed literature shows there are no known side effects from laser therapy for most conditions.

Class IV Laser Therapy also differs from other modalities like moist heat, E-stim, and ultrasound in that it penetrates deeper tissue layers more effectively. This is crucial as it promotes increased metabolic response necessary for tissue regeneration. It also accelerates bone and tissue repair and nerve regeneration. Clinical Practice Guidelines also vastly support this approach to therapy.

Are You a Candidate for Class IV Laser Therapy?

Class IV Laser Therapy works to treat a variety of conditions. Diagnoses that may benefit from the procedure include:

  • Epicondylalgia
  • Chronic elbow, wrist, or knee pain
  • Discogenic pain
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Auto injuries
  • Myalgia
  • Arthritis pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Foot and ankle conditions
  • Shoulder injury
  • Neck and back pain
  • Post-surgery pain

Comorbidities That Prohibit Laser Therapy

There are also situations where Class IV Laser Therapy may not work well. Examples of contraindications with laser therapy include:

  • Avoid treating around glandular tissue (such as thyroid, testes, ovaries).
  • Do not treat over-growth plates in children.
  • Do not treat patients taking photosensitive medications (such as steroids or antibiotics).
  • Don’t treat patients using internal pain pumps or pacemakers.
  • Don’t treat patients with epileptic seizures.
  • Do not treat patients with hemorrhage issues.
  • Do not treat patients with cancer and diabetes.
  • Don’t treat pregnant patients in the abdominal area or the lower back/ pelvic area.

We Combine Laser Treatment with Conventional Physical Therapy!

At Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab, we believe in providing comprehensive patient care from start to finish. We can incorporate Level IV deep tissue laser into the plan of care of patients seeking this intervention!

We can also use it in conjunction with other treatments like physical therapy for the best results. Our doctors of Physical Therapy meet the patient one on one to educate the patient on the treatment before administering it.

Some exercises may be challenging to complete due to pain. We use laser therapy as a pre-treatment modality to ease your pain when performing more challenging activities, thus making you more functional! Contact us today to request an appointment.