Tips and Pitfalls

Laser is probably new to you. There are some basic things you should know about laser treatment and what to expect. Laser usually requires multiple treatments to be effective. Sometimes a single treatment can provide long lasting results, but additional treatments are almost universally beneficial. With pain associated with Fibromyalgia, continued treatment has been vital for me. 

Before I continue, remember that I’m not a doctor or medical professional, I’m a home laser user offering my insight for those interested in laser treatment.

1. If you do not have any pain to begin with, you may not feel any change. As I understand it, laser works by increasing circulation to inflamed tissues. If the tissue is not “in a bad way”, there may be no response. If you do have pain, there should be an effect. It may be increased inflammation at first, especially in older conditions. My body seemed to be “surprised” by the initial treatment, and after that each treatment feels good.  

2. If you have a really bad condition, it may take a while. I felt better within a day after my first treatment. It takes some people a few days, others feel it right away. Sometimes the setting may not be right for the pain you’re trying to treat. Everyone is different. By the fourth use on the proper setting, you should know.  

3. Not enough treatment can lead to unimpressive results. Different settings (5 hertz, 50 hertz, 250 hertz, 5-250, Variable) can have varying results. Follow the directions, and keep in mind that 5-500 is stimulative, and 1000-3000 (variable) is inhibitive. Doing both can negate the desired effect.

4. Overdoing it because you feel better! This is common! When you feel a lot better, you tend to do things you might not have in your condition. I hear it often. A friend of mine, who was house bound because of his back, decided to go to a museum the day after his first treatment because he felt so much better. All of the standing around took him back to square one. Try not to make it worse than when you started! Go easy!

5. I have found that combination therapy is awesome, especially massage therapy and/or chiropractic, with laser first. When you get a massage and a knot is just killing you, using the laser over that spot goes a long way to relaxing it. I’ve felt knots soften on my wife’s back after using the laser, and having my therapist use it on my legs made the massage a LOT more comfortable. I think this is a great use of the laser, and needs to be explored further.

6. Pay attention to the area treated with laser. Laser results can be a little “sneaky”, the pain just seems to make a quiet exit. This is hard to explain, and not everyone experiences it. I’ve asked people how they felt the next day, and they suddenly realized they hurt less! Because of this, some people will assume the problem just healed on it’s own. Out of nowhere. All by itself. (Face-palm)   

7. Put the laser in a new clear plastic quart bag for each user to keep your laser clean and sanitary.

8. Don’t drop it! This is an expensive medical device that should be treated with care. While not fragile, it deserves respect.  

9. Laser uses never cease to amaze me. My wife hit her leg really hard, and she used the variable setting to stop the pain. Worked wonderfully! I usually Google problems, followed by LLLT or cold laser, and find out if the condition is treatable with laser.

A great trait of laser therapy is that, at least to me, the weirder and more impossible the problem, the more dramatic the benefit seems to be. Of course I’m probably biased because of how well it works on my pain from fibromyalgia, but I’ve seen it work dramatically on CRPS as well. 

10. Use it! If you don’t use it, it can’t help you. Sometimes I see my wife favoring her trick knee, and I ask why she hasn’t used the laser. She had just forgotten. I forget a lot of things, but laser never slips my mind!     

Good luck, and be well.

Ryan B.

A Fibromyalgia patient’s perspective