Laser therapy harnesses the power of certain wavelengths of light to accelerate the injury healing process and reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasms. Physical therapists generally use a type of laser therapy known as cold laser therapy (a.k.a. low level laser therapy or 830 laser therapy). The therapist will provide this treatment by placing a handheld laser device directly over the affected area for several seconds to several minutes, during which time the non-thermal light photons will penetrate the skin and fat tissues to reach the deeper muscle and nerve tissues. The cells in these tissues then absorb the light energy, initiating reactions within the cells’ light-sensitive elements that are thought to produce the pain-relieving and healing effects. Conditions that may benefit from cold laser therapy include arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, knee pain, neck pain, and tendonitis. Patients usually do not achieve full pain relief after the first treatment session. In fact, it can take anywhere from eight to 30 sessions for patients to experience noticeable results. While cold laser therapy has been used as an alternative pain management treatment for several decades, additional research is needed to produce meaningful data about its effectiveness. Partially for that reason, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover cold laser therapy. Some private insurances may assist with payment, but others do not cover the treatment at all.