Every month, more chiropractors are offering laser therapy to their patients... why? Because at its simplest, laser therapy is just light therapy, and it works, with relative safety.
Think of how a plant absorbs sunlight and uses it to grow. It's called "photosynthesis," right?
Human cells also have the ability to absorb light. In us, it's called "photo-biomodulation." Our cells take the light energy from the laser light and they use it to heal. While lasers are actually much more technical than that, this explanation really does cover the basics of how the lasers work.
Why add laser therapy to my treatment?As a chiropractor, I believe the chiropractic adjustment is very powerful, and it is the foundation of what I do. The spine has a lot of structures attached to it, though. There are muscles that can get tight, tendons that can be injured, and ligaments that can be damaged in accidents. If those structures aren't healing properly, or moving well, or if the muscles are spasmed and very tight, then adjusting the spine may be less effective.
Chiropractic Laser Therapy for Chronic PainFor chronic pain, laser therapy can't be beat. I've got about an 80% success rate in my office using it, and the other doctors I've talked with have similar experiences.
The following chronic pain conditions respond very well:
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis)- if the joint isn't completely damaged, we get great results
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapments
- Disc protrusions
The difference between Cold Laser and High Powered LaserA cold laser is not really cold, and a high powered laser is not really hot, although it may feel warm occasionally during treatment. The biggest difference is the power of the unit, which determines how "bright" the laser light is inside the tissues. This directly translates to more energy to the cells, so high powered lasers can accomplish the same healing as a cold laser in less time.
How deep the light goes into your body depends on the type of light used. Infrared light, like that in the K-Laser, penetrates deeply and makes it effective for problems in the knees, hips and spine, where cold lasers, or lasers that use blue or violet light may not be as effective.
What to expect during chiropractic laser therapyYour doctor will take a thorough history, perform a physical exam, and may take X-rays. The biggest reason laser therapy doesn't work is because the laser is being used on the body part with pain, not the body part causing the pain. This is an important point and one I can't stress enough... if you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome, as an example, the pain may be from the carpal tunnel. But it may also be coming from the forearm, or the shoulder, or the neck. Finding what is actually causing the pain gives your doctor the best chance of high powered laser therapy working.
If you doctor is like me, they will also recommend adjustments of the spine and/or extremity and will give you stretches and exercises at home to help the healing process.
For more information on how to find a good chiropractor, click this link.
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