Cold Laser Therapy Research

Cold Laser Therapy (a.k.a., Low Level Laser Therapy) has been around and in clinical use for the better part of 50 years. There are now more than 4000 clinical studies and research papers that indicate that Low Level Laser Therapy is effective in treating a wide range of conditions. The added benefit? No side-effects!

Research reveals how and why cold lasers are so effective for pain relief and the reduction of inflammation. Inflammation is suspected as one of the main culprits in a wide range of chronic conditions.

Cartilage Regeneration Cold Laser Clinical Studies

The following is a summary of some of the clinical studies that were conducted using cold laser to treat cartilage regeneration. These studies are presented here to demonstrate the wide uses of a cold lasers in the treatment of different medical conditions.

Histological and clinical responses of articular cartilage to low-level laser therapy: Experimental study
I. Ruiz Calatrava1 , J. M. Santisteban Valenzuela1, R. J. Gómez-Villamandos1, J. I. Redondo1, J. C. Gómez-Villamandos1 and I. Avila Jurado1 (1) Department of Veterinary Clinical Pathology-Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cordoba, Avda. Medina Azahara, 9, 14005 Córdoba, Spain

Received: 30 July 1996 Revised: 18 September 1996 Accepted: 20 November 1996
This study was carried out to evaluate the effects of low-level laser irradiation on experimental lesions of articular cartilage. A standard lesion was practiced on the femoral trochlea of both hind-limbs of 20 clinically normal Californian rabbits. These animals were divided into two groups of 10 individuals each, depending on the laser equipment used for treatment.

One group was treated with He-Ne laser (8 J cm-2, 632.8 nm wavelength) and the other with infra-red (IR) laser (8 J cm-2, 904 nm wavelength). In both groups, five points of irradiation to the right limb alone were irradiated per session for a total of 13 sessions, applied with an interval of 24 h between sessions. These points were the following: left and right femoral epicondyles, left and right tibial condyles and the centre of articulation. The distance between these points was approximately 1 cm.

The untreated left limb was left as a control. During treatment, extension angle and periarticular thickness were considered. At the end of the treatment, samples were collected for histopathologi-cal study and stained with: Haematoxylin-Eosin, PAS and Done. The results show a statistically higher anti-inflammatory capacity of the IR laser (p < 0.0001). The functional recovery was statistically similar for both treatments (p < 0.176). Histological study showed, at the end of the treatment, hyaline cartilage in the IR group, fibrocartilage in the He-Ne group and granulation tissue in the control limbs. Clinical and histological results indicated that this laser treatment had a clear anti-inflammatory effect that provided a fast recuperation and regeneration of the articular cartilage.

“LLLT triggers biostimulative-regenerative processes inside the cell and subsequently causes revitalisation of the tissue as well. Second effect of LLLT refers to the vasodilatation and neovascularisation of local blood and lymph vessels, thus causing a better removal of waste products and, on the other hand, improved oxygenation and nutrition of damaged tissue. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of LLLT are also significant when irradiating certain dermatological changes.”

1 Zlatko Simunovic, M.D., F.M.H.,
2 Tatjana Trobonjaca, M.D.
3 Pain Clinic-Laser Center, Locarno, Switzerland
4 Laser Center, Opatija, Croatia

Studies on Cold Laser Therapy and its Effects on Cartilage Regeneration
By Dr Schnee · July 12, 2010 · Filed in Cold Laser Therapy, Osteoarthritis

Over the years, several studies have been performed to determine the effects of cold laser therapy on cartilage regeneration.

One study took a cartilage sample from the right knee of a 19 year old patient. Chondrocytes (cartilage cells) were isolated and suspended for cultivation, and cultures were incubated for 10 days. The cultures were then separated into 4 groups. The first three groups of cultures received cold laser treatments for 10 minutes for five consecutive days. Each culture had different laser parameters assigned to it. Group 4 was the control group and did not receive any treatments.

The Groups that were treated with laser showed great results in terms of cell viability and higher levels of Calcium and alkaline phosphate as compared to the untreated group. This study concluded that laser therapy improved chondrocyte activity without causing any damage to the cell.

And in a separate study published in Biotechnology, cold laser therapy was performed on holes drilled in mice’s ears to determine if cartilage would grow back. Mice were chosen as the subject because the chondrocytes (cartilage cells) in mice’s ears are similar to those in human cartilage. In the study, holes were drilled in both ears. The left ear was treated with cold laser therapy while the right ear was left untreated. The results indicated that after two days only the treated ear showed clear evidence of perichondrium (precursor to cartilage) while the untreated ear showed NONE. After four days the treated ear had significant ingrowth of perichondrium into the hole versus the control group were there was only an active perichondrium zone.

Macroscopical and histological examinations revealed that cold laser therapy had a direct effect on cartilage regeneration.

Many patients who were diagnosed with ‘bone on bone’ knee pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee have turned to Cold Laser Therapy with regular in-home treatment, which has helped them experience knee pain relief so that they could avoid knee surgery.

1.Biostimulation Of Human Chondrocytes With Ga-Al-As Diode Laser: ‘In Vitro’ Research. Morrone G, Guzzardella G A, Tigani D Et Al. Lasers Surg Med. 1997;21(5):480-4.

Cold Laser Research on Arthritis and Cartilage Issues

Here are just a handful of additional studies that show how effective cold laser treatment is for relief from knee pain and arthritis:

There are over 35 years of worldwide clinical success, 2,500 published papers and 120 randomized, controlled trials for cold lasers. It is the only therapeutic modality with a cumulative effect on cells and tissues. Both NASA and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have engaged in cold laser therapy research over the last decade, with noteworthy success.

The Effect of Low Power Laser Therapy (Cold Laser) on Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Basirnia A., Sadeghipoor G., Esmaeeli Djavid G. et al. Radiol Med (Torino).1998 April; 95 (4):303-9.
…We achieved significant improvement in pain relief and quality of life in 70% of patients.
Positive Outcomes for Infrared diode laser in low reactive-level laser therapy (cold laser) for knee osteoarthritis.

M.A. Trelles, J.Rigau, P. Sala, G. Calderhead, T. Ohshiro. Laser Therapy, (1991): 3(4): 149-153.
82% reported significant removal of pain and recovery of joint mobility. Cold Laser Therapy is concluded to be a safe effective and noninvasive alternative to conventional surgical and medical treatment modalities for DJD patients.

The Influence Of Low Level Infra Red Laser Therapy On The Regeneration Of Cartilage Tissue.

P. Lievens, Ph. Van der Veen.Abstract from Laser Florence 2002. Laser in Medical Science. 2002:17(4).
This study concerns the influence of Laser treatment on the regeneration process of cartilage tissue. There is no need saying that the regeneration of cartilage tissue is a very big problem in rheumatic diseases for example. The lack of blood supply is one of the most important factors involved. Lots of previous publications give us proof of the regeneration capacities of Laser Therapy. In this study we have chosen to experiment on cartilage tissue of the ear of mice….Microscopic as well as histological evaluations were performed on the cartilage regeneration of both ears… After the second day, only in the irradiated group there is a clear activation of the perichondrium (the connective tissue surrounding cartilage).


Controlled, double-blind studies using Cold Laser Therapy

Following is a list of cold laser controlled, randomized, double-blind studies,* which have shown that Cold Laser Therapy is an effective treatment modality for a wide range of conditions, such as:

  • Acne Vulgaris
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Ankle sprains
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic back pain
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Epicondylitis
  • Herpes simplex
  • Lymphedema
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Oral mucositis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Stroke
  • Temporomandibular dysfunction
  • Tinnitus

*Achilles tendinitis: Bjordal, J.M., et al. (2006). A randomized, placebo controlled trial of low level laser therapy for activated Achilles tendinitis with microdialysis measurement of peritendinous prostaglandin E2 concentrations. British Journal of Sports Medicine 40, pp. 75-80.

Acne vulgaris: Seaton, E.D., et al. (2003). Pulsed-dye laser treatment for inflammatory acne vulgaris: randomised controlled trial. The Lancet 362, pp. 1347-1352. Acute pain
(Review paper): Bjordal, J.M., et al. (2006). Low-Level Laser

Therapy in Acute Pine: A Systematic Review of Possible Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Effets in Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery 24(2), pp. 158-168.

Carpal tunnel syndrome: Ekim, A., et al. (2007). Effect of low level laser therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Swiss Medical Weekly 23-24, pp. 347-352.

Chronic neck pain: Chow, R.T., et al. (2006). The effect of 300 mW, 830 nm laser on chronic neck pain: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pain 124(1-2), pp. 201-210.

Herpes simplex: Schindl, A., and Neumann, R. (1999). Low-Intensity Laser Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Recurrent Herpes Simplex Infection. Results from a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Investigative Dermatology 113, pp. 221-223.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Gur, A., et al. (2004). Efficacy of 904 nm Gallium Arsenide Low Level Laser Therapy in the Management of Chronic Myofascial Pain in the Neck: A Double-Blind and Randomize-Controlled Trial.

Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 35, pp. 229-235.

Oral Mucositis: Bensadoun, R.J., et al. (1999). Low-energy He/Ne laser in the prevention of radiation-induced mucositis – A multicenter phase III randomized study in patients with head and neck cancer.

Support Care Cancer 7, DOI 10.1007/s005209900034.

Osteoarthritic Knee Pain

(Review paper): Bjordal, J.M., et al. (2007). Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in Osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials. BNC – Musculoskeletal Disorders, DOI 10.1186/1471-2474-8-51.

Postmastectomy Lymphedema

Carati, C.J., et al. (2003). Treatment of Postmastectomy Lymphedema with Low-Level Laser Therapy.

American Cancer Society, DOI 10.1002/cncr.11641.

Stroke: Lampl, Y., et al. (2007).
Infrared Laser Therapy for Ischemic Stroke: A new Treatment Strategy. Results of the NeuroThera Effectiveness and Safety Trial-1

(NEST-1). Stroke, DOI 10.1161/STROKEAHA.106.478230.

Tendinitis and Myofascial Pain Syndrome

(includes Epicondylitis, trochanteritis, etc): Lögdberg-Andersson, M., et al. (1997). Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) of Tendinitis and Myofascial Pains – A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study. LLLT 9, pp. 79-86.

Tinnitus: Gungor, A., et al. (2007).
Effectiveness of transmeatal low power laser irradiation for chronic tinnitus.

The Journal of Laryngology & Otology, DOI 10.1017/S0022215107009619

Following are links to 20 controlled, double-blind studies with Cold Laser Therapy:

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