Laser therapy for sciatica is a relaxing medical treatment that involves the application of laser energy to promote healing.
Like all other body parts, the legs are susceptible to conditions that can cause illness and affect well-being. One of them is sciatica, which is pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg. Various issues cause the condition, including spinal stenosis, pelvic injury or fracture, and herniated disk. The good news is that sciatica is treatable – laser therapy is one of the most effective treatments used to treat the condition. This treatment method involves the application of laser beams to heal cells in the affected area. Keep reading to learn more about sciatica and how it is effectively treated by laser therapy.
Sciatica: What It Is
Sciatica is pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the sciatic nerve, which begins in the lower back and extends down the back of each foot. The nerve not only helps you stand, run, and walk but also provides sensation to the thigh, the lower leg, and the sole. Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve is damaged or under too much pressure. It is primarily prevalent in men between 30 and 50 years, although it can affect people of any age, excluding the young. Sciatica pain can range from mild to chronic, depending on its cause. While the pain often starts slowly, it may worsen after standing, coughing, or walking for a few miles. Seeking laser therapy when you have sciatica is recommended for quick recovery.
Laser Therapy: What It Is and How It Works
Laser therapy is a medical treatment that uses focused light to treat conditions. This therapy employs photobiomodulation, which uses light to activate several biological events to enhance cellular metabolism and lessen pain and inflammation. Light from a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is usually set to specific wavelengths, turning them into powerful beams that can damage unwanted tissues and cells. Besides treating sciatica, laser therapy can treat many other conditions, including cancer, kidney stones, and detached retina. Laser therapy is more precise than conventional surgical surgical instruments. This makes it less damaging to the tissues around the affected area. It is non-invasive with minimal to no pain as well. Laser therapy takes a shorter time compared to traditional surgeries and can be done on an outpatient basis. This treatment also promotes faster healing, making its recovery period shorter than surgery.
3 Types of Laser Therapy Treatment for Sciatica
Low-Level Laser Therapy
One common laser treatment for sciatica is low-level laser therapy, commonly abbreviated by LLLT. As the name suggests, low-level laser therapy uses low-level laser light to treat sciatica. At the lower wavelengths, the light accelerates healing without affecting soft tissues surrounding the sciatica nerve. LLLT is also effective in reducing inflammation and relieving pain resulting from sciatica.
Deep-Tissue Laser Therapy
Another treatment for sciatica is deep-tissue laser therapy (DTLT). This kind of laser therapy uses high-powered class IV lasers to illuminate red and near-infrared light to tissues situated deep in the body. Thanks to its deeper tissue penetration, deep-tissue laser therapy encourages fast and efficient healing of the sciatica nerve and the surrounding tissues deep within the body. It facilitates healing by enhancing cellular replication, which increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area.
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold Laser Therapy (CLT) for sciatica encompasses applying low-intensity laser therapy to inspire healing on the impacted leg. During this therapy, low-level laser light is applied over the area needing treatment. It treats sciatica by improving blood flow to the target area to reduce pain and accelerate healing.
Advantages of Laser Therapy Treatment for Sciatica
Sciatica is notorious for causing a great deal of pain, especially if it is chronic. Luckily, laser therapy for sciatica effectively relieves pain associated with the condition. It facilitates pain relief by promoting collagen production and elevating endorphins in the body, all of which help relieve pain.
Descrease Muscle Contractions
Since sciatica affects the sciatic nerve, it is common for patients with the condition to experience muscle spasms. When effectively applied, laser therapy can decrease contractions by relaxing the muscles. Light projected to the target area reduces spasms by decreasing excess tension in the muscles affected by sciatica.
Improve Blood Flow to the Affected Areas
Laser therapy is instrumental in increasing blood flow to the parts affected by sciatica. By increasing blood flow, laser therapy facilitates the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. The flow also facilitates the removal of toxins from the target part. These processes caused by increased blood flow speed up healing, allowing you to recover from sciatica quickly.
Enhanced Nerve Function and Decreased Damage or Inflammation
Laser therapy improves nerve function. It achieves this by stimulating nerve regeneration. The regenerated nerves usually increase their branches and function better. In addition, laser treatment prevents further damage and inflammation of the sciatica nerve and its surrounding tissues. It attains this by enhancing cellular metabolism in the affected nerve.
Positive Impacts of Laser Therapy
Laser therapy enhances cell mechanisms at the cellular level. Light from the laser equipment stimulates photoreceptors in the cell membranes and mitochondria, resulting in the development of adenosine phosphate (ATP). ATP is essential in providing cells with the necessary energy for many vital processes, such as healing. The therapy also promotes tissue repair by healing muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues.
Potential Risks Attributed to Laser Therapy for Sciatica
Burns or Irritation to the Skin
Laser therapy has the potential to cause burns or irritations to the skin. The burns and irritations frequently occur when laser light stays in contact with the skin for a long without proper cooling. These burns can be first and second-degree but never third-degree.
Aches and Displeasure
While laser therapy is painless during application, it is common for patients to experience aches and discomfort afterward. These issues usually happen when the laser light is overconcentrated on the affected area. Consult your treating doctor if the pain and discomfort are excessive.
Deteriorating Sciatica Symptoms
Laser therapy can worsen sciatica symptoms instead of alleviating them. Rather than healing, insufficient or improperly applied laser therapy can lead to excess pain, weakness, or tingling sensations. The treatment can also cause swelling and reduce foot function.
Interference with Medications
Laser therapy can interfere with medications by reacting with them. Receiving laser therapy while taking photosensitive medications can trigger immune reactions like inflammation and itchy reactions. Your practitioner will tell you the medicines to avoid when undergoing laser therapy to prevent problems.
Expensive and Time Consuming
Laser therapy for sciatica is expensive compared to other applied health remedies. It is primarily expensive because it involves the use of costly laser technology. Additionally, the treatment is time-consuming, as patients have to go through various therapy sessions lasting between 20 minutes and one hour.
Other Conditions that May be Treated by Laser Therapy for Sciatica
Other conditions can benefit from laser therapy for sciatica. These include edema, back pain, knee pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions affecting the lower back and legs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does laser therapy really work on sciatica?
Yes. Laser therapy is effective in treating sciatica.
What therapy is best for sciatica?
Laser therapy is best for sciatica. Practitioners can use low-level, deep-tissue, or cold laser therapy to manage the condition.
Can laser therapy heal nerve damage?
Yes. Laser therapy is effective in healing damaged nerves.
What are the side effects of laser therapy in physiotherapy?
Laser therapy can burn and irritate the skin. It can also worsen symptoms and result in pain and discomfort.
How can I get rid of sciatica permanently without surgery?
If you do not want surgery, laser therapy can help treat sciatica permanently.
What is the fastest way to cure sciatica?
Laser therapy is the quickest treatment for curing sciatica. The therapy can make sciatica go away within a few days or weeks.
Can sciatic nerve be removed?
No. The septic nerve cannot be removed, given its importance in promoting walking, standing, and sensation.
What is the success rate of sciatica treatment?
Sciatica treatment is very effective. The treatment has a success rate of over 75%.
How long does it take to cure sciatic nerve?
Curing the sciatic nerve takes four to six weeks of consistent treatment.
How does laser therapy help nerve pain?
Laser therapy lessens nerve pain by stimulating nerve cells and facilitating regeneration. These effects promote healing and function.
What are the problems after laser treatment?
After laser treatment, patients can experience increased pain, discomfort, and worsening sciatica.
What are the long term effects of laser therapy?
Laser therapy can cause skin scarring. It can also change the color of the skin.
Does laser treatment reduce pain?
Laser treatment can alleviate pain. The affected cells will absorb laser light, which helps suppress pain and reduce inflammation.
Is laser physiotherapy safe?
Laser therapy is very safe when used appropriately.
Who should not receive laser therapy?
Pregnant women and people with active infections, bleeding conditions, or cancerous tumors should not undergo laser therapy.
Sciatica laser surgery cost?
Laser surgery for sciatica costs about $150 per session. The amount can add up to thousands of dollars, depending on how long your treatment takes.