Cold laser therapy for back pain is a procedure that utilizes low-level laser waves to provide pain relief and stimulate healing. It is used to treat back pain, which affects both men and women at some point in their life. In some cases, acute back pain can lead to chronic pain when left untreated resulting in a debilitating and long-term condition.

What is cold laser therapy for back pain?

Low-level laser therapy for lower back pain has been proven to be an effective and safe treatment for musculoskeletal pain management. It uses low levels of light and known as cold laser therapy because it does not generate heat. It is different from other laser therapies that use heat such as aesthetic and surgical lasers that are used to treat skin ailments, cancerous tumors, or kidney stones.

Cold laser therapy for back pain is also referred to as low-power laser therapy (LPLT) or low-level laser therapy (LLLT). It is a non-invasive light source that works on reducing inflammation, treating soft tissue injuries, and stimulating nerves without increasing the skin’s temperature. It offers positive effects at the tissue and cellular levels.

How does it work?

Cold laser therapy for lower back pain is a procedure that uses laser wavelengths to output low-level light on a specific area of the body. The deep layers of tissue absorb this light and cells react causing a physiological effect that promotes regeneration.

The laser device is held near or on the affected area and delivers the required laser energy dose. While you may feel device on the skin, it is not painful, aggressive, nor do you feel any heat or uncomfortable vibrations.

If you’re asking the question, does cold laser therapy work for back pain, the answer is yes. One laser session takes a few minutes, and you’ll need a couple of sessions depending on the severity of the pain or injury for successful treatment.

Main back problems treated with cold laser

Generally, laser therapy for back pain has no side effects and is a very safe procedure to improve the condition of nerve ending, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments. It works on treating acute musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions such as strains and sprains, post-surgical pain, whiplash, general neck and back pain, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Laser treatment works in a number of ways that offer significant benefits in relieving pain while lowering inflammation and promoting healing.

Pain Relief

The laser reduces nerve sensitivity by decreasing pain eliciting chemicals and releases endorphins, which is the body’s natural pain reliever. Through this process, it creates an analgesic effect that blocks pain on nerve fibers. The laser is very effective in eliminating painful trigger points and can be used as an alternative for acupuncture. 


Cold laser therapy increases levels of adenosine triphosphate. This is a compound that stimulates processes in living cells by providing energy so it can facilitate nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and chemical synthesis. Increased energy at a cellular level accelerates the process of cell repair and simultaneously reduces molecules that spread inflammation.

Accelerates Tissue and Cell Repair

With the deep penetration of photons that are output from the laser light, the tissue and cellular reproduction and growth are accelerated. The exposure to the laser light triggers the repair process in the cells of nerves, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

Improves Blood Vessel Activity

The laser light widens the veins and arteries and veins surrounding the injury which in turn removes damaged cells while increasing oxygen and the absorption of nutrients. Because it increases the development of new capillaries in the damaged tissue, it helps speed up the healing process and improves blood vessel functioning.

Reduces Formation of Fibrous Tissue

Cold laser back therapy helps to reduce the formation of scar tissue that occurs from tissue damage through cuts, scratches, burns, repetitive motion injuries, or surgery. It stimulates the production of collagen, an essential protein that is needed in healing wounds.  

Does laser therapy work for back pain?

The use of cold laser therapy is increasing the field of medical practice and alternative therapies, and it is fully approved by medical regulatory bodies for treating a wide range of conditions.

Pain is a complex condition and successful outcomes from cold laser therapy are dependent on good clinical skills that include understanding the nature of injury, pain, and inflammation. Clinical studies have shown it has a positive effect in treating chronic and acute and chronic pain while accelerating the body’s ability to heal.

There is strong support for laser therapy in managing pain over the area of injury, reducing inflammation and edema, inducing analgesia, as well as minimizing tenderness and relaxing contracted muscles.

Cold Laser Therapy Advantages

Because cold laser therapy is non-invasive there is no recovery time, and it does not require taking any prescribed medications. When applied properly by a skilled and qualified practitioner, there are no side-effects and it is well tolerated by people of all ages, including the elderly.

Cold Laser Therapy Disadvantages

While there are not many disadvantages with cold laser therapy, it is worth noting to gain a full understanding of the pros and cons of treatment. Usually, patients will not gain immediate resolution or relief by having one treatment session.

Depending on the duration and severity of the pain condition, it’s possible for patients to need a series of treatments that could include anything between 5 – 30 sessions. Treatment can be done up to 4 times a week, and sometimes it may aggravate the pain or injury for a few days following treatment. But this is short-lived and will typically resolve itself through the subsequent sessions. Cold laser therapy may not always be covered by medical insurance but treatment is not extremely expensive.