As a follow up to my recent posting I wanted to share a patient case to demonstrate how powerful and beneficial Low Level Light Therapy can be not only for relieve pain but facilitation of the healing process by increasing blood flow to the injured area.
Background Prior to Low Level Light Therapy
A female patient 33 years of age diagnosed in 1992 with severe brachial plexus and vascular compression due to severe Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) followed by 7 surgeries from 06/1997 to 2/2012.
Patient presented in September 2012 to M3 Chiropractic & Wellness for Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) to decrease her referring pain symptoms, facilitate cell proliferation of the healing process and reduce the generation of scar tissue. The most recent surgery 02/2012 was performed as a dissection of years of excessive scarring and adhesions causing moderately to severe occlusion of the left subclavian vasculature and diminished neurology. The new overlaying scar tissue has caused impingement of the brachial plexus with pain down the left arm to the hand. Patient describes pain as achy, sharp, numb, tingling, throbbing, stabbing with visible cyanosis to the left upper extremity. Patient stated the symptoms listed above are continuous and increase with repetitive active range of motion, heavy lifting, heat, cold and any soft tissue mobilization such as massage or myofascial release. The symptoms improve with daily Pilates rehabilitation and lying on her back. Patient’s pain and symptoms are currently affecting her ADLs such as her occupation as a Pilates rehabilitation instructor/teacher, sleep, and her recreational activities.
Previous surgeries from 06/1997 to 12/2011:
12/2011 Exploration of the subclavian artery and vein of the left and scalenectomy for arterial and venous occlusive disease of left arm. 06/10/2009 Transaxillary excision of the right first rib, exploration of the subclavian artery and vein, neuroplasty of the lower trunk of the brachial plexus and parietal pleurectomy. 08/28/2002 Exploration of right subclavian artery, division and reattachment of right pectoralis minor muscle for venous obstructions of right axillary vein. 11/06/2001 Exploration of the axillary artery, vein and brachial plexus with lysis of the band. 04/24/2001 Left transaxillary second rib resection, apical pleurectomy, and venolysis of axillary vein. 10/20/2000 Exploration without repair of the Left brachial vein, left neurolysic or neuroplasty, radial nerve, ulnar nerve, musculocutaneus nerve and median nerve.06/06/1997 TOS compression syndrome correction with resection of the first thoracic rib Left.
Her Denver Chiropractor, Dr. Roccaforte started treating the patient with Low Level Light Therapy 7 months post operative (09/2012) average of 4 times a week with multiple frequencies of light (light emitting diodes – LEDs) to the specific area of the neck and subclavian area to stimulate the superficial or deep tissue. During the initial examination noted a moderate to severe pain present, decrease in her cervical active range of motion (AROM), moderate to severe neuro-vascular impingement present causing a restrictive in blood flow and neurological impingement.
Approximately 4-6 weeks of treatment (Approximately 20 visits of 30 minute LLLT sessions) there was visible decrease in redness and swelling to the incision, decrease in scar tissue adhesions, and a palpable decrease in the size and thickness of the superficial tissue with an increase in the cervical range of motion. Her pain symptoms reduced to moderate, a mild increase in cervical AROM with a decrease in neuro-vascular impingement and restrictions.
Approximately 4 months of treatment (approximately 40 visits of 30 minute LLLT sessions) minimal to no redness or swelling present. Palpable changes incision flush to tissue with minimal scar tissue adhesions with further increase in active cervical range of motion. She continues to demonstrate a decrease in symptoms, increase cervical AROM and decrease in neuro-vascular symptoms.
This study demonstrates a real case with a real patient utilizing a non-invasive treatment to reduce symptoms and increase the natural healing mechanisms of the body.
How does Low Level Light Therapy work
By utilizing specific light wavelengths stimulation from the pulsing light spectrum helps the body at a cellular level (mitochondria) to heal itself, with no side effect. The light wavelengths penetrate the damaged superficial and deep tissues (skin, muscles and tendons) which triggers a biological response facilitating the natural healing process. The treated area produces natural anti-inflammatory enzymes, improving mobility causing reduction in symptoms and pain.
What can be treated with Low Level Light Therapy
There is a broad range of symptoms and injuries which can be treated with Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) such as low back pain, neck pain, shoulder injuries, knee and ankle injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, mild arthritis, headaches and neck injuries (whiplash) from a motor vehicle accident and even concussions to name a few. From a post operative, as demonstrated in this posting, LLLT can slow down the scar tissue formation reducing visible scars as well as deep tissue adhesions.
Contraindications with Low Level Light Therapy
The most common contraindications are the eyes, do not aim laser beams into the eyes. Cancer, do not treat over the site of any known primary carcinoma or secondary metastasis. Pregnancy, do not treat directly over the developing fetus. Epileptics, might trigger a seizure in photosensitive, epileptic patients. Pacemakers, do not treat directly over pacemaker. Contact your healthcare provided for a a consultation and a complete review of any contraindications.