Can Laser Therapy Make Pain Worse?

Close-up of a therapist using a laser on a patient's back during a treatment.

Are you seeking relief from chronic pain and considering laser therapy? Understanding how laser therapy works and its potential risks is essential before making a decision.

Laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), is a non-invasive treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to target areas of pain and inflammation.

The therapy aims to reduce pain and inflammation and promote tissue repair in various conditions, making it a popular choice for managing chronic pain.

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy harnesses the power of specific wavelengths of light to address pain and inflammation. During a laser therapy session, a therapist utilizes a handheld device emitting low-intensity laser light, which is applied to the affected area.

The light energy penetrates the skin and interacts with cells, including mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells responsible for energy production. This interaction triggers a series of biochemical reactions within the cells, leading to increased production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells.

As ATP production is enhanced, cellular metabolism and function improve, promoting cellular repair and regeneration.

Additionally, laser therapy stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and reduces the production of inflammatory mediators, leading to decreased pain and inflammation.

Laser therapy helps the body heal itself by repairing tissues, reducing pain, and improving overall function.

It can be used for conditions like chronic pain, injuries, and inflammatory disorders. Laser therapy boosts the body’s natural healing abilities.

Benefits of Laser Therapy for Pain Relief

Despite the potential risks associated with laser therapy, this innovative treatment modality offers numerous benefits for individuals seeking relief from chronic pain and promoting the healing process. Here are some of the key advantages of laser therapy for pain relief:

1. Reduced Inflammation:

Laser therapy has anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation in the affected area. By targeting inflammatory mediators and promoting cellular repair, laser therapy alleviates pain associated with inflammation and enhances the body’s natural healing response.

2. Enhanced Tissue Repair:

One of the primary benefits of laser therapy is its ability to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. The light energy emitted during laser therapy sessions penetrates deep into the tissues, promoting the production of collagen and accelerating the healing process. This results in faster recovery from injuries, surgeries, and chronic conditions.

3. Pain Management:

Laser therapy provides effective pain relief by targeting the root cause of pain and discomfort. By stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and modulating pain perception pathways, laser therapy helps alleviate chronic pain conditions, including arthritis, neuropathy, and musculoskeletal disorders.

4. Improved Circulation:

Laser therapy enhances blood flow and circulation to the affected area, facilitating the delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to promote healing. Improved circulation also helps remove metabolic waste products and toxins, reducing tissue damage and inflammation.

5. Non-Invasive Treatment Option:

Unlike surgical procedures or medication, laser therapy is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment option for managing chronic pain. It carries minimal risks and side effects, making it suitable for individuals seeking natural and holistic pain relief solutions.

6. Versatility:

Laser therapy can be used to address a wide range of chronic conditions, including arthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries. Its versatility makes it a valuable adjunctive therapy for individuals with multiple health concerns or complex pain conditions.

7. Improved Quality of Life:

By reducing pain and inflammation and promoting tissue repair, laser therapy can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals living with chronic pain. Enhanced mobility, reduced reliance on pain medication, and faster recovery times contribute to a better overall well-being and functional status.

In conclusion, despite the potential risks, laser therapy offers numerous benefits for managing chronic pain and promoting the healing process. As with any medical treatment, it’s essential to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if laser therapy is appropriate for your condition and to ensure safe and effective treatment outcomes.

Can Laser Therapy Aggravate Pain?

While laser therapy is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, there are potential risks and considerations to keep in mind. Incorrect application of laser therapy or failure to diagnose underlying conditions may lead to temporary discomfort or exacerbation of pain.

Some individuals may experience sensitivity to light, particularly if they have photosensitive skin conditions or are taking medications that increase sensitivity to light. In rare cases, individuals may also experience adverse reactions to laser therapy treatment, such as skin irritation or blistering.

Furthermore, during the healing process, some individuals may experience a phenomenon known as a healing crisis, where symptoms temporarily worsen before improving. 

This temporary exacerbation of symptoms is often a sign that the body is undergoing a healing response and typically resolves as the healing process progresses.


Laser therapy is generally a safe option for most people, but individuals with certain medical conditions or sensitivities to light should avoid it. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure laser therapy is suitable for your specific needs.

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doctor Slavik | Spine and Disc Center

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