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August, 2010

Lasers: Effective or Useless?

By DCPI Staff

To help you enhance your practice and increase your bottom line, Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS asks practicing doctors of chiropractors like you, for ideas and solutions that have been tested in real-world environments. In this issue we asked: "How do you use lasers in your practice? How effective are lasers in relieving pain and promoting healing as compared to drugs or other treatments?"

As always, your feedback provided us with valued insight and effective methods to implement in your practice. The following responses are what we found most useful in answering this question:

Effective For Pain Relief

A.J. Bentley of Middletown, Ohio, believes lasers are effective in pain relief and speed the process of healing. He uses laser therapy treatment for specific conditions. He writes: "I have used laser therapy for about three years in my practice. I have been able to help people heal more rapidly since implementing it. Chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel respond well and acute injuries such as ankle sprains respond very well."

Jeffrey Tucker of Los Angeles, California, believes lasers are multidimensional and uses them to promote quick recovery. He writes: "I have a corrective exercise mentality. I want to get clients out of pain as quickly as possible to create a state where I can teach them dynamic movement therapy. The warm laser is a tool that helps me navigate through clients' acute and chronic pain faster than other modalities. Like manipulation, laser can help awaken the 'healer' within. I find laser multidimensional and effective, and it has helped move my practice well beyond the ordinary."

Blair Labig of Xenia, Ohio, uses laser not just for pain relief but in some cases, specifically for circulation. He writes: "I use laser on extremities for pain relief and to improve circulation. It works quite well. I have older patients who specifically request that I repeat the treatment on the next visit. I also tell the patient to get a PET laser and use it on painful points."

Perry Nickelston of Ramsey, New Jersey, uses only one specific type of laser in his practice. He writes: "I use a Class-4 deep-tissue laser for every condition in my clinic. I even named my practice after the laser: Pain Laser Center. I see amazing results on a daily basis. Laser has a unique healing effect from a process called photobiostimulation, so there is pain relief with cellular regeneration. Every doctor should have a Class-4 laser."

Is it a Useful Method?

While most doctors of chiropractic who responded felt lasers were effective in pain relief and promoted fast recovery, others did not believe that lasers were useful to their practice. Here are some of those responses:

Anthony Morovati of Glendale, California, prefers to use another method of pain relief in his practice. He writes: "I began using laser in 1994, from a Swedish company called Lasertronics. After several years of attending numerous seminars, I encountered the electro-acuscope and myopulse, which work on the same biophysical principals. I have had better clinical outcomes using the electro-acuscope as compared to the laser."

Ralph Stokes of Dallas, Texas, also prefers another method of pain relief to lasers. He writes: "I have used lasers in past, but never saw a lot of pain relief or reduction of inflammation. Frankly, myofascial therapy works much better than lasers for soft-tissue problems."

One reader, who chose to withhold their name and location, has used several different lasers in their practice. However they did not believe any of the lasers were an effective means of treatment. They explain: "I have used five different lasers on a trial basis. I utilized it for various pains, ranging from spinal to many extremity areas, on approximately 60 patients, including my own knee. Only one patient felt relief of her tennis elbow. That lasted about four hours with the first application. Three successive treatments afforded no relief. Therefore, I do not use laser and do not recommend it to my patients."

Robert Brown of Lansing, New York, agreed with the previous chiropractor regarding the lack of effective results from laser therapy. He explains: "I tried using laser therapy. I never had any positive outcomes with it".

Michael Musselman of New Ulm, Minnesota, does not believe that lasers belong in chiropractic at all. He writes: "Why would I use lasers? It's not chiropractic. How about you learn a good system of analysis and adjusting, and take care of patients by using chiropractic?"

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