Low Intensity Laser Therapy: Something Which Makes Sense

Dr. Charles Burton recently visited our Laser Clinic in Toronto and subsequently sent an excerpt from the Burton Report.

Dr. Burton is a noted authority on conditions relating to the spine and has written many articles on appropriate therapeutic procedures for problems relating to this section of the anatomy.

The Burton Report

Spine care, specifically surgical spine care, and more specifically surgical fusion spine care in the United States has been, for much too long a period of time, the “Poster Boy” for continuing remarkably poor clinical judgment in some localities. The February 11, 2011 Wall Street Journal article titled: “Whether You Get Back Surgery May Hinge on Your ZIP Code” has pointed out this phenomenon.

It is therefore a refreshing task for Burton Report to present information on something which is safe and makes sense for the relief of spinal and joint pain as well as wound healing. Just about everyone is familiar with high intensity lasers as used in space, industry, and medicine but few know much about the world of low intensity laser therapy (LILT).

General credibility in regard to the healing powers of LILT have suffered from all too familiar “snake oil” stigma related to overkill in the enthusiastic healing claims made for these sorts of phenomena. A classic example of this was the early application of electricity in the treatment of patients It has taken the dedicated effort of pioneers such as Canadian physician Fred Kahn to clearly point out that there are appropriate and safe uses of LILT in effectively treating patient disability.

The science behind therapeutic (low) levels of laser is its ability to promote, at a molecular level, enhancement of tissue growth and thus promote healing. Because different molecules absorb different wavelengths of light therapeutic LILT encompasses mainly he red (660nm) and ultraviolet (830-840 nm) light spectrum.

As someone who has testified before the U.S. Congress regarding medical device legislation, as well as having been a past FDA Medical Device Panel Chairman, it has always been amazing to the author that the FDA has never really recognized that its responsibility was not solely that of regulating medical devices but to actually promote to the public those which were basically low cost, safe, efficacious (in the right hands), and clearly in the best interest of the patient. It is certainly time that U.S. and Canadian Health authorities begin to look more seriously at promoting important treatment modalities, of which LILT, is an excellent example, which make sense.

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