by Richard Martin, BS, CLT
Practical Pain Management, Nov/Dec 2003
Injured cells and tissues have greater affinity for LLLT than healthy cells and tissues. LLLT in the treatment of inflammation, pain and healing is a highly integrated process, but the author separates those processes categorically for identification.
Acute Inflammation Reduction (flowchart provided in the original article) – After injury, tissues initiate a series of biological responses and cellular membrane reactions which manifest in a combination of edema, inflammation, pain and functional debility. LLLT mediates by: (1) Stabilizing cellular membranes; (2) Enhancing molecule ATP production and synthesis; (3) Stimulating vasodilation via increased Histamine, Nitric Oxide and Serotonin; (4) Accelerating leukocytic activity; (5) Increasing Prostaglandin synthesis; (6) Reducing Interleukin-1; (7) Enhancing lymphocyte response; (8) Increasing angiogenesis; (9) Modulation temperature; (10) Enhancing superoxide dismutase levels; and (11) Decreasing C-reactive protein and neopterin levels.
Pain Reduction (flowchart provided in the original article) – Evidence justifies a conclusion that LLLT reduces pain by combination of processes: (1) Increase in b-Endorphins; (2) Blocked depolarization of C-fiber afferent nerves; (3) Increased nitric oxide production; (4) Increased nerve cell action potential; (5) Axonal sprouting and nerve cell regeneration; (6) Decreased Bradykinin levels; (7) Increased release of acetylcholine; and (8) Ion channel normalization.
Tissue Healing – LLLT enhances wound healing by: (1) Enhanced leukocyte infiltration; (2) Increased macrophage activity; (3) Increased neovascularization; (4) Increased fibroblast proliferation; (5) Keratinocyte proliferation; (6) Early epithelialization; (7) Growth factor increases; (8) Enhanced cell proliferation and differentiation, and (9) Greater healed wound tensile strength.