The pulse on laser technology

Frank Martin, D.C., and Max Kanarsky
January 22, 2014
Written by Frank Martin, D.C., and Max Kanarsky
Jan. 22, 2014 — With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, chiropractors face an unprecedented opportunity to focus on geriatric conditions and appropriate care. This generation is expected to live longer and have better quality of life than previous generations, but pharmaceuticals won’t be the answer.
Instead, chiropractors have the unique opportunity to help aging adults maintain their vigor and active lifestyles. More than ever, chiropractors will require better tools for addressing chronic pain and the self-perpetuating cycles of swelling and muscle spasms.  

Laser treatment represent the latest advanced technology for addressing these issues, with research continuing to show that combining laser therapy with manual manipulation is most advantageous.

Super pulsed lasers, in particular, have been effective in eliminating chronic pain and reducing inflammation. They also improve poor blood flow associated with degenerative disorders like spinal stenosis.

Laser treatment is a natural solution to pain relief, and provides a drug-free, non-invasive and safe approach – with no side effects. Utilizing the best units on the market, laser treatments can:
• produce significant outcomes by improving range of motion and reducing pain and inflammation
• provide hands-free treatment option – with the addition of unattended treatment armatures
• be delegated to an assistant or therapist (based on scope of practice and state regulations)
• become a significant source of revenue growth

Technology at work

Maximizing laser light to relieve certain disease symptoms has been the subject of research, from NASA to European scientists, for many years, yielding advances and critical improvements in the technology.

When a laser-light beam is super pulsed, it delivers intense concentration of photons to cells without damaging thermal effects, which increases its therapeutic value. In comparison, continuous wave or pulse lasers are limited in their ability to deliver high power due to the increase in heat-related tissue damage that accompanies a higher power output. Super pulsing of the beam breaks through the thermal barrier and is able to deliver laser power in tens of thousands of milliwatts with no damaging thermal effects to the tissue.

Super pulsing lasers deliver up to 2,000 times the peak power of continuous wave lasers and up to 1,000 times the peak power of pulse lasers without any related damaging thermal effects. Increasing peak power maximizes the photon density and improves depth of penetration – reducing treatment time, and optimizing clinical results and efficiency.

Identifying optimal laser technology
Ideally, chiropractors should look for laser technology products that have been cleared by Health Canada for multiple pain-relief applications. They should also have the capability to treat a variety of conditions including neck- and back-related issues, inflammation such as arthritis, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, acute and chronic pain, soft tissue injuries, and improve muscle strength. The sophisticated medical super pulsed laser should also integrate multiple technologies that work synergistically to deliver advanced therapeutic effect.

Super pulsed lasers deliver between 25,000 mW and 50,000 mW of peak laser power to tissues using advanced semi-conductor laser diodes. The best lasers on the market integrate advanced laser diodes directly onto internal computer chips. The laser of choice should also be time-tested and used worldwide by hospitals, private practices, military and professional sports and for pain relief and accelerated healing.
Integrating lasers into the practice

By becoming a laser treatment clinic, chiropractors have an opportunity to not only retain satisfied patients, but also attract new ones. DCs can help a broader range of patients, create new revenue and referral sources, generate positive word-of-mouth marketing and gain a competitive edge. Consider adding on other laser enhancements including diagnostic capability, electrical stimulation and magnetic field enhancement. 

To get started, clinicians should look for a laser equipment provider that offers a two-year warranty or better, safe laser classification device, treatment protocol training, easy-to-understand guides about the device and its use for various conditions, as well as ongoing webinars for education on how to best use the laser. The laser company should also be available at any time to answer clinical and technical questions.

Chiropractors should also have access patient education materials such as videos, brochures, illustrated posters, ad templates and learn how to market their practice to the community. Speaking at local community groups about laser treatment’s proven outcomes can yield exceptional practice-building results.

After choosing a product, ask the supplier for local and/or provincial/state references.

Improving care and profitability
For many patients, the benefits of laser treatment are often felt after only three to four treatments. Some patients report immediate pain relief after the first treatment, although it is the cumulative effect of a series of treatments that produce the best outcomes.
Laser treatments are non-invasive and painless. Most people do not feel anything, while some have reported a slight tingling or warming sensation over the treated area. The best lasers on the market use three clinically proven wavelengths of light for optimal tissue saturation. They also use a sophisticated software algorithm to synergize three multiple wavelengths, creating a cascading effect where energy is absorbed from superficial tissue down to four to five inches below the skin’s surface.

Typically, the laser emitter is placed directly on the skin over the area being treated. Depending on the treatment area size, the user may keep the laser held in one spot, or move the emitter around to treat a wider area.

Keep in mind that pregnant women and patients with a history of cancer should refrain from laser treatments, and individuals with pacemakers should not have laser treatment near the heart.

Super pulsed lasers are drawing praise from the chiropractic community, with a growing number of them expressing appreciation for enthusiastic patient response, rapid symptom elimination and advanced functional ability, ease of use, and as an exceptional adjunct to a chiropractor’s practice.

Chiropractors do double duty as clinical professionals and small business owners. Therefore, every tool must be both effective and economical. Offering laser therapy adds value, improves patients’ outcomes and helps the bottom line.

Frank Martin is a chiropractor based in Moncton, N.B. and runs the Elmwood Chiropractic Clinic. Max Kanarsky is the president and CEO of Multi Radiance Medical, developer and manufacturer of super pulsed laser devices.

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