Researchers hope laser therapy can help personal injury victims




Researchers hope laser therapy can help personal injury victims

For the past seven years, a neuroscientist at the Uniformed Services University, the U.S. military’s medical school, has been conducting research on the healing powers of low-level lasers. Collaborating with a Georgetown University researcher, Juanita Anders and Kimberly Byrnes have found that in rats laser therapy can repair severed spinal cords, allowing once-injured animals to walk again. Encouraged and excited by the discovery, most scientists remain skeptical over the ability to use lasers on ailments like nerve injuries.

Low-level laser use has been around since the 1960s when a Hungarian doctor discovered it. Referred to as phototherapy and cold laser, doctors and physical therapists mostly outside the United States have been using the low-level laser therapy to speed wound healing, but scientists have been studying ways to extend the use of the lasers.

Just like other lasers, low-level lasers send out a directed beam of light limited to a specific wavelength. In the U.S., the FDA has approved cold lasers for just neck and shoulder pain, wrist pain related to carpal tunnel syndrome and to break up fat before liposuction, but some practitioners use lasers off label for other ailments. Personal injuries involving things like spinal cord injury can be extremely devastating, but some researchers refuse to fold to skepticism and continue trying to find ways to more effectively treat a wide range of personal injury ailments.

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