Why a Small Town Chiropractor Spent Over $14k on Laser Therapy for His Patients
Some people think I’m a bit different. That’s probably true. I went to college for 12 years and I was one of those kids who studied really hard and got fairly good grades. You might think that my head would have been full by then but it wasn’t. Oddly I have always been a reader and I really do still, average about a book a week. Maybe more. It’s not Tom Clancy or Steven King novels either. No light entertaining fair here. I’m more a meat and potatoes guy. Hard boiled content with lots of substance. Books with more challenging subjects to expand my knowledge base. I constantly research trying to gain insights that can expand my personal and professional horizons. The hope is that maybe I’ll come across something that will someday help a patient or a friend. The cool thing is that occasionally I find things that can be life changing for the people I work with. You might say it’s what drives me. I just think it’s exciting when I find things that I can apply to help the people I work on in some new and exciting way. Therapeutic lasers fall into that category. Although in this case it wasn’t a late night epiphany that sent me dancing the Watusi through the house. It was more of a gradual process, occurring over many years interspersed with dozens of minor “ah ha’s” along the way.
In the Beginning
When I was an intern in chiropractic school many years ago we sometimes used red laser pointers on patients’ wrists to help with their carpal tunnel syndrome. We weren’t really sure why, but sometimes it seemed to help. A few years later I started seeing “laser therapy units” become available in the marketplace. Typically, the manufacturer laid claim to a specific frequency which they claimed was the exact frequency needed to get maximum results. Having read some of the early studies done by NASA or various universities, these single frequency claims never really made sense to me. Why would the body only react to one specific frequency of light? It was too counter-intuitive. As years went by lasers offering a broader range of frequencies became available. Thanks to hundreds of thousands of studies done starting almost 60 years ago we now understand that, in essence, different frequencies have effects on different cellular structures to help stimulate the healing process. After trying a couple of the single frequency lasers in my previous practice I was a bit skeptical (but also intrigued) when one day a distributor brought in a broad spectrum laser to try out on my patients. The first thing I did was try it out on myself while he watched. I figured I wouldn’t waste each other’s time on something that wasn’t going to work. At the time I had moderate to acute wrist pain of about a month duration. Basically it hurt like heck every time I clutched the Harley and since I road almost every day, it was getting annoying. It was also getting progressively worse. He walked me through the basics and 2 ½ minutes later my wrist pain was 90% better. I was a bit shocked. Placebo effect maybe? Maybe it was just a coincidence but I told him I’d give the machine a try for a couple of weeks anyway. One more treatment a day later and the pain was gone and it has not returned. That was nearly ten years ago. Coincidence? Maybe. When I started using the lasers on my patients often their symptoms would disappear or diminish with just one or two treatments. I had one young man who had been an avid bike rider prior to the unexplained onset of his knee pain. The pain was severe enough that he hadn’t ridden in several years. I was stunned when after just one treatment he came back and related that the pain was completely gone. Better yet, he was back to riding again, pain free, every day. Once in a while he would come in for a touch-up but he continued to ride pain free for years. I ended up buying that machine and used it for many years, helping hundreds of patients until I retired. I had a patient who came to me once for her hip pain. The cartilage in her hip socket was basically gone, “bone on bone”. She had a terribly, painful limp. She was scheduled for surgery in a couple of weeks and had heard reports about these new lasers. She was willing to give just about anything a try rather than face the knife. She was a rather large lady and had a good deal of “padding” around her hips and I wasn’t at all sure we could even penetrate that far. First treatment her pain decreased. After the second treatment she cancelled her surgery. Periodically her pain would return and she would get a treatment or two and be relatively pain free for a few days up to a few months at a time. It was over four years before she finally had the surgery. She gave credit to the lasers and of course some great adjusting skills to her success in keeping the knife at bay for so long. Another patient once cancelled her carpal tunnel surgery after just 2 treatments. Three weeks later she was back to crocheting. She was 84 at the time. When I followed up a couple of months later she reported that she was back to her real love, bowling! Also with no pain. As cool as my previous lasers were they are now quite nearly obsolete. Come to think of it they weren’t really that cool. In fact, at times they could generate a fair amount of heat. Not really enough to burn you unless you had extremely sensitive skin but because of this heat factor it did limit the amount of energy that could be transmitted to the treatment areas.
The Advent of Super Pulsed Cold Lasers
I recently saw an article that the Kansas City Royals’ new secret weapon was a chiropractic tool. It turned out to be the same super pulsed cold laser I use in my office. It’s not just baseball though, nearly every major sports team in the country has a super pulsed cold laser therapy unit in their training facility. Ever wonder when your favorite athlete goes down on the field screaming in pain how they manage to be back on the field so quickly. LeBron James goes down on the court with an obviously badly sprained ankle. How does he get back out on the court at full or nearly full capacity so quickly? For one thing he’s in super-human good shape but he also gets the very best, most advanced trainers, chiropractors, doctors and therapies known to man!
There is a reason that nearly every major sports team in America uses laser therapy on their multi-million dollar athletes. Now you can have this same “Miracle Treatment” too!
These new lasers seem to be much more versatile than my previous units. We have had some incredible and fascinating results treating conditions that were in the past often very problematic and challenging; restless leg syndrome, arthritis, neuropathies, carpal tunnel syndrome, seasonal affect disorder, sprains and strains, medial and lateral epicondylitis, shoulder pain, knee pain and the list grows daily. My patients have found relief from these and many more conditions over the last year.
In recent years this technology has taken some big steps forward. The new Multi-Radiance Medical “Super Pulsed Cold Lasers” are the most effective units I have ever seen. Because the laser beam is broken up at such fast rate (super pulsed) the lasers can offer far more intense energy to the treatment area without harmful effects or heat buildup.
This allows the Multi-Radiance Medical Super Pulsed Cold Lasers to generate up to 1000 to 2000 times more energy than previous generations of lasers!
Needless to say, my patients these days are frequently amazed at the results. I often quip that my new lasers are light years better than the old ones! Small pun intended.
Let There Be Light!
In a time when so many people are looking for safe alternatives to pain medications I find it amazing that so few people are aware of the benefits of these amazing tools. In fact, most practitioners seem to be completely oblivious to the possibilities. While in Eugene I once told a plastic surgeon/friend of mine how I had noticed that my lasers were very effective at speeding up the healing process after some surgeries. He came to my office for a demo and within a few weeks purchased the same equipment for his own patients. I have also convinced several other chiropractors to offer this service. Everyone I know who has offered this treatment has been quite happy with their results. If more practitioners were to offer these incredible tools in their respective venues, I have little doubt we could turn the tide of addiction to pain meds. The company offers packages and individual units to a variety of practitioners; chiropractors, general medicine, podiatrists, physical therapists, veterinarians, sports medicine, surgeons, etc.
Best of all, these lasers are incredibly safe and painless with almost no known side effects. The really mind boggling thing is that they are just light emitters. A very special and unique form of light.
But remember not all light is created equal!
While the previous generation of lasers were pretty good, the Super pulsed cold lasers offer a significant step up in power, energy, comfort and effectiveness. In my office I have three units that we use every day. The MR4 ultra package has two emitters; the Laser Stim emitter with 25,000mW of peak power and TARGET (which is cool marketing talk for Treatment Area Recognition and Guidance Enhanced Technology, Whew, you know someone stayed late at night thinking that one up) this actually is a neat feature though that helps the doc or technician to zero in on the areas that need the most treatment and also lets them know when that area has received maximum energy needed, and the LS50 emitter with 50mW peak power, more than most class IV lasers. We also have the MR4Activ which is a potable model that allows us to move freely around the clinic or even to the ball game to deliver therapy!
According to this excerpt from Multi-Radiance Medical:
The Cascade Energy Effect™—triple synchronized wavelengths
Multi Radiance Medical uses three clinically proven wavelengths: 660 nm, 875 nm and 905 nm to cover the entire spectrum therapeutic window of light for optimal tissue saturation
Sophisticated software algorithm synergizes multiple wavelengths, creating cascading effect: 660 nm absorbed by superficial tissue clears the way for infrared 875 nm to penetrate deeper and eliminate cellular interference which allows infrared 905 nm super pulsed laser to go even deeper: up to 4-5 inches
Multi Radiance Medical’s proprietary multi-source technology successfully manipulates the interaction between light, laser and magnetic energy fields to achieve the desired penetration in the target tissue area