treatment for knee pain
The knee is the largest joint in our body and has to withstand various stresses as we go about our day to day activities. Many of us have experienced a knee problem at some point in our lives, whether from playing sports or working around the house, but sometimes discomfort can develop for no apparent reason at all.
Knee pain can come from inside the joint where important structures such as the weight bearing cartilage – meniscus, ligaments – ACL and PCL, or from the surrounding muscles, tendons or bursa. It may start suddenly from an acute injury (such as falling, twisting the knee, bending the wrong way, or a direct blow while playing sports). Acute injuries can lead to a buildup of scar tissue which can become more problematic than the original injury itself. Knee pain can also develop over time from overuse or daily wear and tear, often causing symptoms of Osteoarthritis.
Pain or soreness in or around the knee
Pain may increase with squatting, twisting, or going up/down stairs
Swelling and/or bruising
Limited range of motion
Stiffness, especially after not moving for a period of time
Popping or grinding
Knee may lock, catch or give way
It’s important to know that some people may be more likely to develop knee problems than others. Certain jobs, sports or recreational activities, genetic postural predisposition and other conditions (like gout, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis) can also contribute to one developing knee issues.
Laser Therapy a method of exposing tissue to low levels of red and near-infrared light can be effective in treating knee problems. The levels are low in comparison to other laser therapies that produce heat, such as those used for cutting or ablation.
Other names for cold laser therapy are low-intensity laser light therapy (LLLT), soft laser therapy, or low-power laser therapy.
Different wavelengths are needed to treat specific conditions. The light energy goes right through your skin. It can penetrate two to five centimeters into tissues, where it triggers a physiological reaction. The reaction may reduce inflammation, improve circulation, promote healing and reduce your pain.
What happens during the procedure?
Cold laser therapy is administered with a pad of light arrays and a small handheld device in an office setting. It’s a noninvasive procedure that can be performed by a doctor, technician, or physical therapist. It can harm your eyes to look directly into the laser, so you might be asked to use protective eye wear. The treatment time for a single knee is between 30 to 45 min. The length of time is determined by the dose and the size of the area being treated.
The light energy will pass through the skin and into your tissues, where it will be absorbed. The light energy helps to lessen inflammation and promote regeneration of damaged tissue. It generally takes more than a single treatment to feel better. How many it takes will vary depending on how much damage there is to your knee. You may need to return 3-4 times per week for a few weeks or months.
Does the procedure hurt?
You might feel a slight tingling sensation, but you won’t feel heat or cold. It’s also painless. There’s no lengthy recovery time, so you can go home right away.
Studies that verify the use of Laser Therapy on knee pain/conditions
The Effect of Low-Level Laser in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Photomed Laser Surg. 2009 Aug; 27(4): 577–584. Conclusion: Our results show that LLLT reduces pain in KOA and improves microcirculation in the irradiated area.
Effect of Laser Therapy on Chronic Osteoarthritis of the Knee in Older Subjects Conclusion: It can be concluded that addition of LLLT to exercise training program is more effective than exercise training alone in the treatment of older patients with chronic knee OA and the rate of improvement may be dose dependent, as with 6 J/cm2 or 3 J/cm2.
Rev Bras Ortop. 2011 Sep-Oct; 46(5): 526–533 After assessment of the data obtained in this study, we can conclude that the treatment with low-level laser alleviated pain and improved functional ability over the short term, among patients with knee OA
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