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Low level laser therapy and dry needling are a relatively new treatment modality. Sunlight exposure and ultra violet therapy regained popularity in the nineteenth century for the treatment of tuberculosis and rickets. Today laser therapy is found to be helpful in treating pain and facilitating soft tissue healing. Studies have shown that low-level laser therapy can stimulate healing of open wounds, pressure ulcers, vascular ulcers, rotator cuff tears and repetitive-strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Because low-level laser therapy is effective in releasing serotonin and endorphins, it can be responsible for relieving pain.
In some cases, laser treatment has the advantage of relieving chronic neck pain in a much shorter time than it would take with manual therapy. Not only that, but the patient's active range of motion (AROM) improves as well. It is believed that the strong light the laser produces (even though low-level lasers do not heat tissue) has the same effect of reorganising collagen fibers in the same way as when heat is applied to connective tissue. Laser therapy by itself relieves pain, but in combination with manual therapy it softens trigger points in seconds. Myofascial trigger points are the knots a physiotherapist feels when she palpates the spot. These trigger points cause muscle weakness, limit range of motion and cause pain or referred pain in other locations.
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