Laser therapy for pain relief

You can feel better!

Laser therapy is a high-tech solution for people suffering from spinal, joint and muscle pain. It is a painless therapy that promotes rapid recovery from acute and chronic pain. It is a highly effective treatment backed by extensive scientific study.

You don’t have to live with pain. Dramatic healing can be seen when laser light is applied to wounds such as diabetic leg ulcers, large bruises, burns and other stubborn wounds. The same tissue healing can be felt for people suffering from arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, ligament and tendon issues, disc herniation, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, post-surgical recovery and more.

Our Theralase Low Intensity Laser Light Therapy system does not heat or cut tissue, unlike high-intensity lasers. Many pharmacological treatments just temporarily mask pain. Laser therapy treats the underlying condition by promoting rapid healing of damaged tissues. This means that not only are the treatments usually effective in reducing pain and restoring function, the benefits of laser therapy are long lasting, too.

“Light has a way of creating a physiological change within the cells, which leads to positive changes and promotion of healing, anti-inflammatory effects, improved blood circulation, increased lymphatic flow, and edema reduction.”
Donald Chu, Director of Rehabilitation and Athletic Training at Stanford University


Laser Therapy FAQ’s

  • What conditions are laser therapy used for?

    Laser therapy can be used to treat a broad range of medical conditions, including musculoskeletal problems, arthritis, sports injuries, wounds, chronic and degenerative conditions, and dermatological problems. Click below to learn more about how laser therapy can help your condition:

  • How does it work?
    More than 1,200 scientific studies have been done on laser therapy over the last 50 years. Excellent results are being achieved, particularly with new breakthroughs in the technology. The laser machine Dr. Macdonald uses is truly state of the art. Unlike most single-laser machines, the Theralase Laser Light system has nine laser beams in a single probe allowing it to quickly and safely accelerate the healing process. The Theralase laser device used in Dr. Deidre Macdonald’s naturopathic medical clinic is Health Canada approved and is used in hospital physiotherapy clinics, sports medicine clinics and burn units around the world. This technology emits specific, scientifically tested wavelengths of light that bathe abnormal tissue with photons. Photons are particles of energy that are absorbed by cells, causing a number of positive physiological responses. In essence, light energy is converted into biochemical energy. The therapeutic light beam permits penetration of deep tissues without adversely affecting normal cells. The body’s natural healing processes are enhanced and tissues heal. The process is curative as opposed to just suppressing symptoms.
  • Advantages of low-level laser therapy

    Advantages of low-level laser therapy The laser light therapy is non-invasive, painless, non-toxic, and usually highly effective with no known lasting side effects.Numerous scientific studies have pinpointed the mechanism by which it speeds healing. The specific wavelengths of light used by this system cause the following effects:

    • Improved cellular energy and metabolism
    • Reduced inflammation
    • Reduced edema
    • Reduced fibrous tissue formation
    • Improved lymphatic drainage
    • Increased ATP production
    • Faster cell growth, leading to faster repair of injured tissue
    • Enhanced DNA production; protein building blocks of tissue are substantially increased
    • Facilitation of nerve function
    • Modulation of macrophages, fibroblasts and other important cells for tissue remodeling
    • Formation of new blood vessels improving blood supply to healing tissue
    • Flood of nutrients into cells
  • How long does a treatment take?
    Treatments generally last 30 minutes for one area, or 45 minutes for two small areas or one large area – such as one hip or the lower back. The treatments are generally done three times a week. Sometimes in acute injuries, the treatments can be done more frequently.
  • How many treatments might I need?
    The number of treatments will vary with regard to the individual problem, as every patient and condition responds to laser therapy uniquely. In a recent clinical report on more than 1,000 patients treated with the laser therapy system, patients averaged slightly less than 10 treatments to resolve their condition. In some patients, one treatment is sufficient; however, on average, three to 25 treatments are required. In some cases, additional maintenance treatments may be recommended.
  • When might I start to see positive results?
    According to a study tracking 1,000 patients treated with top quality laser therapy , 60% of patients feel benefits after six treatments and a further 20-30% go on to have significant benefit from this therapy. Occasionally, patients feel benefits after the first treatment, and some people feel improvement within three to five treatments.
  • Is laser therapy safe? Can it cause cancer?
    Dozens of research studies have shown laser therapy to be safe and effective. Laser therapy is non-invasive, non-toxic and non-thermal. Unlike other forms of radiation, Laser therapy is beneficial rather than harmful to tissue. The wavelengths of light used in laser therapy are even safer than sunlight and they certainly can not cause cancer.
  • Are there any contraindications?

    Yes. Laser therapy should be avoided in the following instances:

    • Over the womb for women in their first trimester of pregnancy
    • Over cancerous tumors
    • Directly over tattoos, the thyroid or the thymus gland
    • Patients taking photosensitizing medication
  • Are there any side effects?
    Occasionally, patients experience some achiness for 24 hours after a treatment. This response indicates that the patient is highly responsive to laser therapy and signals that their tissues are being stimulated by the therapy. If this occurs, use ice or pain medications and let the therapist know. The therapy will be adjusted slightly to find the most beneficial settings for the individual.
  • Is the Theralase system a well-established laser therapy machine?
    The Theralase Laser Light system used in Dr. Deidre Macdonald’s naturopathic medical clinic is Health Canada approved and is used in hospital physiotherapy clinics, sports medicine clinics and burn units around the world. Theralase equipment is the favoured laser unit and is used by an increasing number of physicians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, veterinarians, naturopathic physicians and dentists across Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and Asia.
  • How is the Theralase Laser different from other laser machines typically found in medical clinics?
    The Theralase Laser Light system used in Dr. Deidre Macdonald’s naturopathic medical clinic produces a safe, non-heating laser, unlike some lasers used for hair removal and some skin conditions. Also, our laser machine is more than just a single-probe laser. Treatments are significantly enhanced by their unique nine laser treatment head.  No other laser packs as much power in one treatment head, allowing for safe and efficient acceleration of healing.
  • For acute injuries, at what point should one start laser therapy?
    Why suffer any longer than you have to? It is best to start laser therapy as soon as possible after an injury. Laser therapy helps heal acute injuries in at least half the time they would normally require. You’ll return to activities faster, with less scar tissue build up and fewer compensatory injuries.
  • Can I do other therapies or exercise along with laser therapy?
    You can keep up any exercise you had been doing prior to treatments, but it is not advised to start a new exercise or engage in unusual activities, as they may make it harder to assess the progress of your treatments. Massage therapy is particularly complementary to laser therapy. Dr. Macdonald can perform massage therapy on the same day as your laser treatments or you can use another therapist. It may not be the best time to start other types of therapy since it will be hard to track which one is causing the benefits (or side effects). But if you regularly see a chiropractor for instance, it is fine to continue treatment.
  • For chronic pain, can laser therapy still work if other therapies have not?
    Most patients who come for laser therapy have, as they say, been around the block. And they still get better! Laser therapy is uniquely effective at truly healing areas of pain, degeneration and inflammation. Just because other therapies have failed, don’t give up hope. Dozens of studies have shown that laser therapy is an effective tool for long-term issues such as back pain, joint issues and wound care.
  • Can laser therapy really help arthritis?
    Yes! Don’t believe that the only treatments for arthritis are drugs or surgery. We have helped hundreds of people with arthritis.  See our testimonials below. Laser therapy has demonstrated its effectiveness at helping people with arthritis in more than 50 clinical trials. Animal studies have shown that laser therapy actually stimulates the regeneration of cartilage in arthritic joints. To learn more, read this article
  • What can laser therapy do for athletes?

    Laser therapy is currently being used by a number of sports teams and professional athletes; the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Miami Heat, the Canadian National Ballet Company, along with many other high-performance organizations, utilize the technology as the basic treatment platform for their athletic injuries. Laser therapy helps athletes to recover from acute injuries and it also helps recovery from intensive training regimes. Some athletes who use laser therapy include:

    • Tiger Woods
    • Harvey Stables
    • Donovan Bailey
    • Damon Allen
    • Vince Carter
    • Mark Washington and many more.
  • What are the fees for laser therapy?
    The first visit with Dr. Macdonald is a complimentary 15-minute consultation to see if laser therapy is right for you. She’ll listen to your concerns, examine you and outline a treatment program for you. She’ll let you know which of the following appointments you’ll need to get the most out of your treatments.  30 – minute treatment = $48 (generally one small area, such as a wrist, shoulder or wound)
    45-minute treatment = $88 (two small areas or one large area such as a hip or the lower back)
    60-minute treatment = $128 (three small areas or one large and one small)
  • Is laser therapy covered by extended health insurance or MSP?
    Extended Health Plans often cover some or all of the fees for naturopathic visits. Contact your extended health carrier to determine how much is covered per visit and per year. We recommend inquiring about all the “fine print” regarding reimbursement. Patients are responsible for submitting their receipts to their insurance companies for reimbursement. MSP (Medical Services Plan of B.C.) normally does not cover the services of a naturopathic physician. If you are on their Premium Assistance Program, which subsidizes the MSP premiums of low-income people, then you are eligible for a $23 reimbursement for up to 10 treatments. Those 10 treatments also include visits with chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists.
  • What if I’m not sure that laser therapy can help for my condition?
    Dr. Macdonald offers a complimentary 15-minute consultation to see if laser therapy is right for you. She’ll listen to your concerns, examine you, and discuss your treatment options with you. Once you have all the information you need, then you can decide if you wish to embark on a series of treatments. Contact us to get started!
  • How do I get started?
    Contact Dr. Macdonald’s office to set up a no-cost 15-minute consultation to see if laser therapy is right for you. Dr. Macdonald will listen to your concerns, examine you, and discuss your treatment options with you. You can call her office in downtown Courtenay at 250 897-0235 or click here to email.