MLS Laser is a Key Treatment Option for Pain Relief
When you think of pain relief, you think of something that will work without causing more pain. MLS Laser is one treatment that fits the bill. It is a pain Laser that is in fact, painless! This particular Laser uses light energy and converts it to biomechanical energy by stimulating your own body’s healing mechanisms at the cellular level. In essence, it recruits your body’s own naturally occurring cellular turnover and enhances this mechanism so your body can fight pain and inflammation.
What Does MLS Mean?
MLS stands for Multiwave Lock System. It is a technology that delivers light in two distinct wavelengths – the 808 nanometer wavelength and the 905 nanometer wavelength. Why the two different wavelengths? The lower one concentrates on reduction in inflammation and edema, and the higher one concentrates on pain reduction resulting in an analgesic effect. The combination of these two wavelengths produces greater pain relief as they affect different pathways causing the pain. In addition, by working two different pathways, it is minimizing any thermal damage that could possibly occur to the cells. The dual action low energy Laser light works on your cells at the cellular level, superficially targeting the mitochondria. The mitochondria are considered the “power houses” of the cells. These microscopic mitochondria take nutrients from our bodies and create energy rich molecules for the cell. This activity in turn promotes healing.
MLS Laser Works on All Types of Pain
Whether you have an acute injury such as a sprain or strain or a broken bone or stress fracture, or if you have chronic pain or discomfort from an arthritic condition, neuropathy, or post operative pain, then you should consider MLS Laser therapy. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis/chronic heel pain, and tendinitis including Achilles tendinitis and sports injuries (ankle injuries, ankle sprains, strains) respond well to this therapy. This is because one of the main effects of the Laser is that it decreases edema, commonly known as swelling. In addition, it can also be used on wounds that are non-infected. It helps wounds and post operative wounds/incision sites heal faster with less scarring.
What Are the Benefits of Therapy?
This is actually our favorite part, as there are so many benefits to MLS Laser!
MLS Laser therapy is non-invasive, meaning that there is no break in the skin or damage to the skin. In fact, when using the robotic arm, the MLS Laser stays approximately 8 inches away from the skin. The fact that MLS is non-invasive is great for those wanting to heal without down-time, as there is no need to rest after a treatment. In fact, you can schedule your appointments during your lunch break so that it doesn’t take extra time out of your day!
The MLS Laser causes vasodilation of the blood vessels, in turn causing increased blood flow to the affected areas. Even if you have great blood flow going into this, the increase in blood flow allows an increase of your body’s cells to migrate to the area.
No known side effects
MLS Laser has been on the market since 2009, and still today, there are no known side effects. As long as you keep at least one day in between sessions in order for the cells to regenerate and heal, you will not feel any side effects.
Can be used along with other therapies
This therapy can be used in conjunction with other therapies such as physical therapy modalities. In fact, like physical therapy, the effect is additive, meaning you see gains as time goes on.
Reduces need for Oral Medications
This therapy has a (sometimes immediate) analgesic effect. Some of our patients want to stay away from oral NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or decrease the amount of post operative pain medication and this Laser allows them to do just that.
Sometimes treatments (such as physical therapy and certainly surgery) cause some pain in the short term to achieve pain reduction in the long term, but this treatment is painless. In fact, some of our patients even doze off during treatment!
The Laser light is focused on the exact area, so it is efficient and works quickly. The average treatment takes somewhere between 10-30 minutes! The light does not focus on any one area for more than a few seconds, and due to the Laser’s unique dual wavelength system, it does not focus on any one area long enough to do any thermal damage – just enough time to stimulate the cells to enhance healing. If there is a specific area that needs attention, the doctor can focus on this area with the handheld piece to target spot treatments as well. The beauty of this therapy that is it can be personalized to your specific needs.
How Often Do I Need to Come in For Treatments?
This depends on if your condition is a chronic condition or an acute or post-op condition. Most acute injuries respond well with 6 sessions, so you would come in for treatments 2-3 times a week for 2-3 weeks. This is the same for post-op conditions; you would come in for 1-2 times before the procedure in order to increase blood flow to the area and then at each subsequent post-op for a treatment when the dressing is changed and inspected by your doctor. For chronic conditions, the recommended total number of treatments is 12 sessions, also 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks. For chronic conditions, there may also be a maintenance program of once a week or once every other week. Again, this can be tailored to each patient’s specific needs. For example, patients with neuropathy (diabetic neuropathy, or other types due to other neurological conditions such as chemotherapy, or even idiopathic) may need an intense initial treatment in order to start seeing results. After their cells have adjusted and patients start to feel relief, their results can be maintained with less frequent visits.
What Can I Expect When I Come in For A Treatment?
When you are considering MLS Laser therapy, the doctor will consult with you to determine the right course of treatment. There are some contraindications, and we want to make sure that this is right for you. Women who are pregnant and children are 2 contraindications, though there are a few others as well. For your first treatment, you come into the treatment room, sign our consent, and watch a quick introductory video, and have the chance to get all your questions answered. You will be required to wear our protective eyeglasses at all times during the treatment. We will determine how to position you in the chair depending on the location of the condition to be treated. The doctor and the Laser technician will be in the room administering the treatment the whole time, answering questions that may come up as your treatment goes on. Since there is no pain, believe it or not our patients find this very relaxing. They are able to calmly recline while their pain is being treated.
Is MLS Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Although this therapy is FDA cleared, it is not yet covered by insurance carriers. However, if you break down the cost per session of the MLS Laser therapy may come out to be less costly than other insurance covered therapies (due to copays and co-insurances). The most important thing to remember is that it is worth it to find something that will actually relieve you of your pain. You can finally have an option that is noninvasive, is pain free, and can be used concurrently with other treatments. It is a great option to keep in mind as a treatment modality that is offered at the Elmhurst and Tinley Park locations of Weil Foot and Ankle.
Dr. Saera Arain joined Weil Foot & Ankle in 2021 and practices out of our Elmhurst, IL location.