PT/Osteo - Health Manager XV France - Rugby

How did you learn about LightForce (LF) therapy, and how long have you been using it with the athletes you follow?

I've incorporated LightForce therapy into a number of protocols over the last year, working with athletes from very different backgrounds. I've worked with golfers, professional rugby players, a downhill Mountain Bike World Champion...  My approach was built around the needs I encountered, to be able to meet the demands of the athletes I accompany from time to time. They are subjected to increasingly intense preparation. Competitions are often long and traumatic. Our approach as therapists requires us to adapt and anticipate these changes.

LightForce Therapy has a dual role to play in supporting athletes: in prevention, during preparation sessions, and in the programming of care for numerous pathologies.

Integration of LightForce Therapy

When I became interested in this type of treatment, I contacted therapists with expertise in the field, to understand the added value of photobiomodulation and how I could integrate it into my own practice. I wanted to use this technology by integrating it into my own professional practice. I had to practice to master the tool. When proposing this type of treatment, it's important to be familiar with the effects, and to be able to clearly explain what you're looking for in terms of how you're going to use it.

Results can only be validated by athletes, and feedback is generally very positive.

Whether as part of prevention or treatment, LF is integrated into a complete care protocol. The aim is to limit the risk of relapse and reduce downtime in the event of pathology. My aim is to improve individual care and performance.

I have used LF to treat a wide range of pathologies, including tendon problems, muscle injuries, cervical neuralgia and plantar fasciitis, as well as joint injuries such as ankle sprains, knee ligament injuries (medial collateral ligament), interphalangeal sprains and scar management...

I've also used photobiomodulation as part of an activation approach, for players who were in the recovery phase and those who were struggling with cumulative workload.

What feedback have you had from athletes after this therapy, and could you now work without this technology?

The feedback is very positive. When you support a professional athlete in international competitions, you have to gain their trust and respond effectively to their needs. The notion of efficiency is essential. 

For a therapist, it's difficult to offer a treatment during a competition and not be able to repeat it the following time. Once a treatment protocol has been validated, we need to be able to offer it at the next competition. The LF is a tool that follows me wherever I go.

In what specific contexts do you use this therapy?

Rather than reviewing the various pathologies, I'd like to take a look at two situations in which LF has been a real added-value treatment:

Case 1:

Management of an inflammatory Achilles tendon condition in a rugby player's training camp: The therapeutic approach with LightForce therapy was to activate at the periphery of the inflammatory zone, then progressively on the painful area, and then to sweep over the triceps sural muscle body in search of relaxation and an effect on the vascular system. This work was initially carried out in unloading mode.

I integrated the protocol proposed by LF, combining eccentric-type exercises with minimal resistance. Photobiomodulation reduced the inflammatory state of the tendon and encouraged the release of endorphins. It also released tension from the muscular body. The sensation of warmth and contact with the massage ball is a real comfort for both patient and therapist. This protocol was then carried out under load and integrated into functional exercises for the foot and propulsion muscles. 

In this particular case, the physical activity was adapted, and the time available in the field was not affected. The effects were long-lasting, and the situation had no repercussions during the competition.

Case 2:

LF also enabled me to treat another player who was experiencing pain on the insertion of the patellar tendon at its tibial attachment, in the TTAT area. This problem had arisen following a direct impact during a match. The player finished the match. He had continued his activities under cover of analgesic treatment to mask the pain, without being able to implement a clearly defined therapeutic strategy.

When he contacted me, a form of chronicity had set in, with an adaptation of motor control over his running pattern (loss of strength in the quadriceps and consequences for the hamstrings). LF treatment combined with various forms of thigh muscle contraction enabled local action to be taken on the painful area. Work on the quadriceps generated benefits for motor control of the knee. The results obtained locally on the impact zone were surprising. Firstly, on the skin level, the insertion zone cooled down and oedema was reduced. The player's experience was also interesting. His VAS was halved, with no impact on his workload during preparation sessions, and with no associated medical cover. He was also able to play for longer periods during the competition. The sessions were daily. The benefit of LF was rapid, and the effects felt by the player were immediate.

A global approach

My role as care manager with the French national rugby team focuses my practice on rugby players, but the rest of my time as Health Manager is very varied. I'm regularly called upon to provide individual support to great champions in downhill mountain biking and endurance sports...

I think it's important to point out that the results of our interventions are often linked to the overall management of problems. Integrating LF into a general treatment program multiplies the chances of a successful outcome. The mistake would be to believe that photobiomodulation technology alone is responsible for the result. It's better to have a global approach with multifactorial actions, and to integrate LF technology into this project to optimize treatment efficacy.

Can we talk more specifically about muscle activation and the period of use you recommend during a competition?

I attach a great deal of importance to activating athletes before starting a day's work. Initially, I would include an unlocking and mobility session to bring the body into optimal condition for high intensity work, whether before training or in preparation for a competition.

This is why I use LF primarily in the morning. This step has been added to the process for players identified as "at risk". These players are generally monitored for musculo-tendinous problems. I offer them dynamic activation with Light Force. The idea is to use photobiomodulation to have a stimulating action. I aim to increase collagen production to optimize the muscular resistance of a chain of muscles. I perform this type of work on functional movements with a view to neuromotor regulation. This can be done with loading or unloading, while maintaining low-intensity motor control, using different types of contraction. Active "conscious" participation by the athlete is required to act on this motor balance of agonist muscles, which activate concentrically, and antagonist muscles, which agree to lengthen. Our action with the LightForce Therapy can be alternated between motor and braking muscles, as required.

Last but not least, for me, is the practicality. The unit comes with a compact wheeled case, which is very sturdy and easy to carry when I am travelling.

In conclusion..

Athletes have understood the usefulness of this type of treatment and regularly ask me for LightForce therapy. In the world of professional sports, LightForce therapy has become essential. It must be integrated into a comprehensive treatment program. Because LightForce therapy is dynamic, the main challenge for the therapist is to synchronize the manipulation of the tool with his or her own gestures and technique.

We indicate that there are no known conflicts of interest associated with this publication.

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