Low Level Laser Therapy aka Cold Laser for Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion
Low Level Laser Therapy or LLLT is an exciting application of light therapy that has been shown to decrease inflammation, decrease free radical activity, dampen microglial cell activity (inflammation in the brain), increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (nerve connectivity aka neuroplasticity), improve blood flow, improve pain levels, and improve neurological function.
There are differences in the classes of lasers (Class II, III, IV laser), and in the case of laser therapy, lower classes = more benefit. I will post a picture to help explain this this later.
We use Erchonia Lasers in our clinic, all of which are Class II, which means they’re the safest for any application, including brain based therapies in concussions, headaches, migraines, seizures, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s.
In addition, our lasers have FDA Clearance for Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Low Back Pain, Foot Pain and have shown excellent off-label benefits for knee pain, burns, fungal removal and gut function.
In this article we will talk about LLLT and Concussion/TBI.
One of the most important pieces of concussion education is understanding inflammation. Inflammation is the reason we are so concerned with the first 2-4 weeks of a concussion and at our clinic, we talk about microglial cell activity.
Microglial cells are the immune system cells of the brain and there are about 10x more “glial” cells in the brain than there are neurons. That means for every 1 neuron, there are 10 microglial cells. When there is inflammation in the brain the microglial cells are going crazy. They’re destroying everything in their path (injured or dead neurons), but guess what this process is normal! Microglial cells have the ability to be good (Think Bruce Banner) and bad (think The Hulk), but in the case of concussion and mTBI it’s an enormous consideration when they turn into The Hulk after a concussion and they create ongoing inflammation. Microglial cells or “glial cells” are basically the cells that clean up all the mess after a concussion, and they typically should turn off within 2-4 weeks on their own (ie the inflammation is shut off), but will continue to clean up everything in their paths (even healthy nerve tissue) if they don’t get turned off. So, does it sound like we want these microglial cells to be in “Hulk Mode” for very long? No we don’t. If you’re not recovered from a concussion within 2-4 weeks (a normal recovery time), there’s a good chance your microglial cells are still in Hulk Mode, and Low Level Laser Therapy and nutrition is the key to turning them back into Bruce Banner.
LLLT penetrates down to the cellular level and controls the mitochondria and the immune system, as well as other factors crucial to our neurology such as BDNF, Nitric Oxide Synthase and inflammatory cytokines. All of these factors, when left uncontrolled allow concussions to persist which become post-concussion syndrome, chronic headaches and migraines, dizziness and vertigo, neck and shoulder pain, as well as dysautonomia such as POTS and gut dysfunction.
Unraveling each one of these symptoms will be covered in the upcoming articles. We start with an intensive rehabilitation program consisting of specific exercises built off the initial examination focusing on neural stabilization. This is how we achieve the results we achieve.
If you know of anyone suffering from post concussion syndrome, headaches, migraines, dizziness or vertigo or other gut dysfunction such as constipation, diarrhea, food sensitivities or POTS, please give them our contact information and have them reach out to start the rehabilitation process, we would love to help and give them hope to heal.
Call for a free 10 minute consultation with one of our doctors to see if we can help with your post concussion symptoms.
Arizona Chiropractic Neurology Center