Increased Hip and Knee Flexibility using Low Level Laser Therapy
If you’re an athlete, flexibility is key to stability, stamina, injury prevention, performance and more. A loose body simply performs better. The only way we know how to loosen muscles is through stretching. But how well does that work? Let me tell you another way that works better.
Not too long ago I discovered that with Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), I could significantly relax muscles and tendons that were as tight as bone. Yes, certain tissues in the hips and back of knees felt like bone. The tissues also did not feel tender to the person when I pressed and they didn’t think that area was a problem at all. I too missed this for a long time thinking this tightness was “normal”. Wow was I wrong!
The incredible thing about Low Level laser Therapy is you can test to see if tissue is naturally supposed to be tight or not. Because LLLT works so fast, the tissues in question can be checked within minutes instead of months to see if they’re normal.
What I’ve discovered is that releasing the tightness in the back of the knees is very important to getting the knees and entire body to relax. It was surprising to me when I first realized this. I thought it was a fluke until I tested it on others and it worked every time. It even loosened up tight and restricted neck muscles and joints on the same side I lasered their knee. What a nice surprise that was.
I have discovered the most critical areas to treat with LLLT are areas that almost never hurt. The back of the knees, the front of the hips (hip flexors) and the muscles in the arm pit. How often do people complain about these areas? Rarely, if ever.
Why these spots? It’s possibly due to years worth of sitting. When we sit our hips are in almost full flexion and the back of our knees are close to full flexion as well. The long term shortening or binding of these tissues reduces oxygen and possibly causes the mitochondrial problems in our cells with the result being less energy production. LLLT reverses the energy problem in our muscle cells and causes muscle relaxation.
It’s so tempting to use LLLT on the area of pain and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, where a person hurts isn’t usually the place that needs LLLT. It’s the areas that don’t hurt, which are so tight, that cause other areas to hurt.
My patients are often surprised when I start working the back of their knees. After just five minutes on one knee I have them get up and walk and their jaws drop in amazement. They had no idea how tight they were in their knees. Then they notice their other knee and how tight it is. But that’s what they thought was normal.
Can LLLT also help tight Iliotibial Bands, Tight Hamstrings, Tight Calves and Shin Splints? Yes it can.
Low-Level Laser Therapy in Russia: History, Science and Practice.
Journal of Lasers in Medical Sciences 2017 Spring;8(2):56-65. doi: 10.15171/jlms. 2017.11. Epub 2017 Mar 28. Moskvin SV1.
Abstract: In Russia (formerly USSR) study of biomodulation action (BMA) mechanisms of low-intensity laser irradiation (LILI) began in 1964, immediately after the development of lasers. During the period from 1965 to 1972 several dozens of scientific conferences were held, hundreds of studies were published. Generally, secondary mechanisms and results of LILI effect on patients with various diseases were studied. This data was immediately implemented into practical medicine in the fields of oncology, surgery, dermatology and dentistry, and since 1974 low level laser therapy (LLLT) is included in the standard of state medical care. For 50 years no less than 1000 books were published (monographs, collections, methodical and clinical materials), thousands of researches were carried out. Primary mechanism and patterns of interaction of LILI with acceptors within cells can be represented in the following order: absorption of photon’s energy – emergence of a local temperature gradient – release of Ca 2+ from intracellular stores – stimulating Ca 2+ –dependent processes. Understanding of this process allowed the explanation of all known secondary effects, optimized methods and extremely increased effectiveness of LLLT. Owing to the knowledge of BMA mechanisms of LILI, numerous associated and combined LLLT techniques were developed and are widely used nowadays: locally, on the projection of internal organs, laser acupuncture, reflexology, intracavitary, transdermal and intravenous laser blood illumination, magnetic-laser therapy, laser phoresis, laser-vacuum massage, biomodulation, etc.
About 400,000 laser therapeutic devices are used in Russian practical healthcare. Unique, having no analogues in the world devices, are produced – red pulsed laser diodes (wavelength 635nm, power 5-40 milliwatts, pulse duration 100ns, frequency 10,000 Hz) are designed specially for effective laser therapy.
- In Russia (formerly USSR) study of photobiomodulation effects of low level laser began in 1964.
- From 1965 to 1972 several dozens of scientific conferences were held, hundreds of studies were published.
- This data was IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENTED into practical medicine in the fields of oncology, surgery, dermatology and dentistry.
- Since 1974 low level laser therapy (LLLT) is included in the STANDARD of state medical care.
- Their preferred parameters in Russia for effective laser therapy? Wavelength 635 nm, power 5-40 mw, pulse duration 100 ns, frequency 10 000 Hz. (Same as I use in my office)
So WHY is this the first time you’ve ever heard of Low Level Laser Therapy?
Wound healing of animal and human body sport and traffic accident injuries using low-level laser therapy treatment: a randomized clinical study of seventy-four patients with control group.
Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine & Surgery. 2000 Apr;18(2):67-73. Simunovic Z1, Ivankovich AD, Depolo A.
Department of Anesthesiology, La Caritá Medical Center, Laser Center, Locarno, Switzerland.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
The main objective of current animal and clinical studies was to assess the efficacy of low level laser therapy (LLLT) on wound healing in rabbits and humans.
STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Clinical study was performed on 74 patients with injuries to the following anatomic locations: ankle and knee, bilaterally, Achilles tendon; epicondylus; shoulder; wrist; interphalangeal joints of hands, unilaterally. All patients had had surgical procedure prior to LLLT.
After comparing the healing process between two groups of patients, we obtained the following results: wound healing was significantly accelerated (25%-35%) in the group of patients treated with LLLT. Pain relief and functional recovery of patients treated with LLLT were significantly improved comparing to untreated patients.
In addition to accelerated wound healing, the main advantages of LLLT for postoperative sport- and traffic-related injuries include prevention of side effects of drugs, significantly accelerated functional recovery, earlier return to work, training and sport competition compared to the control group of patients, and cost benefit.
Photobiomodulation in human muscle tissue: An advantage in sports performance?
Journal of Biophotonics 2016 Dec;9(11-12):1273-1299. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201600176.
Epub 2016 Nov 22. Ferraresi C, Huang YY, Hamblin MR.
Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Universidade do Sagrado Coração – USC, Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil.
Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Abstract: Photobiomodulation (PBM) describes the use of red or near-infrared (NIR) light to stimulate, heal, and regenerate damaged tissue.
- Both preconditioning (light delivered to muscles before exercise) and PBM applied after exercise can increase sports performance in athletes.
- This review covers the effects of PBM on human muscle tissue in clinical trials in volunteers related to sports performance and in athletes. The parameters used were categorized into those with positive effects or no effects on muscle performance and recovery. Randomized controlled trials and case-control studies in both healthy trained and untrained participants, and elite athletes were retrieved from MEDLINE up to 2016.
- Performance metrics included fatigue, number of repetitions, torque, hypertrophy; measures of muscle damage and recovery such as creatine kinase and delayed onset muscle soreness.
- PBM can increase muscle mass gained after training, and decrease inflammation and oxidative stress in muscle biopsies.
- We raise the question of whether PBM should be permitted in athletic competition by international regulatory authorities.