Cold laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), is characterized by safety and non-invasiveness. Compared with other therapeutic modalities, cold laser therapy has relatively few contraindications associated with it. However, there are still some cautions we should pay attention to before taking cold laser treatment. In this blog, we will introduce you to the main contraindications of cold laser therapy.
Do not perform cold laser therapy on the site of any known primary carcinoma or secondary metastasis. There is the potential that cold lasers may stimulate cancer cells and promote tumor growth.
However, there are two special cases where cold laser therapy can be used in cancer patients with approval from oncologists or primary physicians. For patients who are in the terminal stage of cancer, cold laser therapy can be used to relieve pain. As for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy, cold laser therapy can be applied to reduce the side effects, such as fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, rashes, fever, infection, etc.
Researchers observed cell damage in chicken embryos after irradiation with cold lasers through the opening in the eggs. However, it is important to keep in mind that the dosage of laser irradiation is very high to chicken embryos if the size and weight of the eggs are considered.
With little research done in this area, there is no documentation indicating the damaging effects of cold laser therapy on human embryos. For safety, we do not recommend pregnant women taking cold laser treatment.
3. Active Bleeding
Cold laser therapy should not be used where there is active bleeding because of its vasodilatory effect. Cold laser therapy stimulates blood cells and improves blood circulation, leading to more severe bleeding.
Tattoos are not a contraindication per se, but they should be treated with caution for people who are very sensitive. The pigments of the tattoos will absorb the laser light and the area could turn warm and painful. It is therefore advisable to start the treatment with low-power settings and short time periods of use, then make the adjustment based on feedback from the patients.
It is known that pulsed visible red light in the 5-10 Hz range can cause epileptic seizures. Some cold laser therapy devices (not including MiraMate Joint Aid and MiraMate Light Pad) utilize flashing visible light, so it should be used with extreme caution in epileptics.
It is also worth noting that some contraindications are assumed to be relative rather than absolute. Thereby, the contraindications of cold laser therapy should be considered from a professional and practical perspective in regards to the actual patients.