Laser Pain Relief: Is It Worth The Hype?

Laser Pain Relief: Is It Worth The Hype?

Posted 5 Jul '23

Let’s face it: there’s a lot of hype around some medical technologies these days. And with people being quick to promote products and services on platforms like social media without necessarily having the skills and qualifications to offer transparent and unbiased information, it’s also getting more difficult to know who you can trust and what is fact versus clever marketing tactics. 

Hence, it’s completely natural to approach topics like laser pain relief with a degree of caution - we did exactly the same until we dived into the research and evidence, and then trialled the MLS laser in our clinics, so we could see the results ourselves. And if you ask any of our podiatrists or laser patients whether the MLS laser is a worthwhile treatment to help you manage pain? The answer is always a resounding “absolutely”. 

What Makes MLS Laser Different From Other Pain Therapies?

The MLS is a fully FDA-approved laser that is proven to deeply penetrate the tissues to work on a cellular level to stimulate biological processes that are involved in both healing and pain relief - all without any known risks or side effects, and all while being entirely heat-free. Receiving FDA approval means the laser has gone through extensive studies specific to the device itself (not just ‘general’ laser) to prove its safety and efficacy - something that should help confidently separate its medical claims from other unproven online “hype” treatments.

Another big point of difference is that many other pain-relieving therapies (including corticosteroids) focus on merely managing your “symptoms” - keeping you satisfied by getting rid of your pain - often by masking it - without actually doing anything to support healing and repair. The result is that you temporarily feel better - but you haven’t actually made any progress in accelerating your recovery, improving your recovery outcomes, or getting you any long-lasting results once the temporary measures have worn off. In fact, in our experience, some people are even left worse off after these treatments for the same reason that dentists warn you very strictly not to eat or drink anything hot after having local anaesthetic to numb part of your mouth - because while you can’t feel anything, you may use your body in a way that actually causes even more damage, you just won’t be able to feel it. This is why it’s so important to know the risks of simply masking your symptoms - and why you should always opt for the solution that prioritises your long-term health and well-being - because you’re going to be walking and active for many more years to come.

The Research & Evidence Behind MLS Laser

The MLS laser has an extensive body of evidence behind its use across many different areas, and there are plenty of research summaries that show the collective positive results of many studies - much like this one.  Given how often we’re using the MLS laser to help patients with pain, discomfort and mobility limitations related to arthritis, we’ve also written an article about the use of laser for arthritic pain that includes the findings from seven studies that looked at its use for arthritis specifically.

How Does The MLS Laser Work?

Ready to get technical with us? We thought we’d dive a little deeper into how the laser works to help you understand it better, but if you’d like the simpler and less technical version, then check out our main MLS laser page here.

Let’s start with some basics: the MLS laser is a type of painless laser that uses two distinct laser wavelengths simultaneously (specifically the 808 nm wavelength and the 905 nm wavelength) in order to achieve its effects. This means it goes beyond the limitations of traditional low-level laser, as well as the concerns of a high power laser. We think of it as the perfect middle ground. Each of the wavelengths produces distinct effects:

Getting even deeper now, when the laser light is emitted into the skin, it produces photons, which reach the cells. These photons then bind to photoreceptors on the cells (much like how a key matches to a very specific lock to open a very specific door), which then kicks off a biochemical reaction. It is the effects of these cellular reactions that produce the effects and benefits that are experienced with the MLS laser, some of which even support the cell’s energy production, so your body can more effectively heal, repair, rebuild, and so on.

How Do You Know If MLS Laser Is Right For You?

There is a range of evidence-based conditions that laser is proven to be helpful in managing, which includes:

The only way to know for sure if the laser can help you is to have a consultation with one of our podiatrists, who will assess the extent of your injury and problem. While there are very few people who may not be eligible for laser treatment due to its safe and painless nature, it’s important to always ensure you understand all of your treatment options and are getting the very best care - which at times may include combining laser treatment with other therapies to give you the best long-term results. 

MLS Laser FAQs

Will laser treatment hurt?

Not at all. There is little or no sensation during the treatment due to its non-thermal (no heat) nature. 

How long does a typical treatment session take?

Approximately 20 minutes, although it depends on the size of the area being treated and may extend up to 40 minutes. 

How long before results are felt?

Many people start to feel some improvements in as little as 1-3 sessions, although this really depends on the nature of your problem, and others may take 4-6 treatments to feel noticeable changes and improvements in their quality of life.

Are the results long-lasting?

The MLS is focused on long-term healing and repair, getting to the root of your pain and inflammation as opposed to just masking the uncomfortable symptoms. As such, the effects of laser help contribute to optimal long-term outcomes.

Should laser be used on its own or with other treatments?

Laser is often a key part of a wider treatment plan that aims to not only reduce your pain and support healing, but also address the contributing factors to your symptoms (depending on the nature of your condition or injury) and help prevent these from recurring in the future. As such, other treatments are typically used alongside laser to help you get optimal, well-rounded results.

Is laser really worth the hype?

Absolutely - from the evidence and the results we see with the laser in our clinics every day, we back this treatment 100% and believe it has the potential to significantly improve healing, outcomes and the quality of life of our patients.

Book your appointment with our podiatry team online here or call us on (07) 3356 3579.

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