Shoulder Pain Relief with Laser Therapy

We don’t realize how much we use our shoulders until something goes wrong.  We use them for putting away dishes, lifting our kids, playing sports, trade work and so much more.  The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body.  It moves in more directions than any other joint.  This tremendous mobility makes the shoulder joint vulnerable to problems.  Shoulder pain is one of the most common musculo-skeletal conditions that I see in my naturopathic practice.  If you have shoulder pain, it is wise to try and determine the source of the problem and take an active role in treatment so you can get back on track as quickly as possible.  Laser light therapy is a safe, painless and effective treatment for a variety of shoulder problems.

Determining the source of the problem requires a detailed physical examination of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, bursa, ligaments and nerves.  I can often learn a great deal through a thorough physical exam involving structural palpation, muscle testing, orthopaedic tests and measuring range of motion.  Diagnostic imaging (x-ray, ultrasound, MRI or CT) can be helpful but are not always available for people with mild to moderate injuries.

The most common conditions I see are rotator cuff problems.  The rotator cuff is a sheath that is made up of four muscle tendons:  the suprapinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles.   Tendonitis can set in, the tendons can become impinged under the top of the shoulder (acromion process of the scapula) or the tendons can be partially or fully torn.  The most common tear is in the supraspinatus muscle that runs along the top / back of the shoulder, under the acromion and attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus).   When this muscle is affected, lifting the arm up to the side is very painful or impossible.   Rotator cuff issues are often associated with bicep tendonitis and bursitis, although these conditions can occur alone.  In bicep tendonitis, the tendon becomes inflamed or fibrotic, and commonly creates a deep, throbbing ache in the front of the shoulder.  Bursitis (inflamed padding of the shoulder) can create very acute pain with raising the arm.  Tears in the labrum (cartilage cuff inside the socket) can create deep joint pain and frozen shoulder.  Arthritis, in the ball and socket joint or where the collarbone meets the shoulder, can cause pain and reduced range of motion.

What are the treatment options?  Anti-inflammatory drugs create problems with daily use.  Surgery is necessary to repair a complete rotator cuff tear, but for most other conditions the effectiveness of shoulder surgery, according to published reports, is difficult to predict at best.  Exercise and stretching are important, but may not be feasible when the shoulder is too painful to move.  Laser therapy is a very effective treatment for speeding the healing of shoulder problems.  Extensive research has shown that laser light therapy is safe and effective treatment for tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis and other issues that affect the shoulder.  It reduces inflammation, increases circulation, speeds metabolism on a cellular level, reduces fibrosis and scar tissue, and strengthens tissue.  These mechanisms result in rapid resolution of pain.  Placebo controlled studies of laser therapy for even frozen shoulder have shown significant reduction in pain and disability.   In my clinic I use a state of the art laser light therapy machine with an extra large treatment head that uses nine laser beams to bathe large areas of the shoulder in the therapeutic light.  The laser beams can penetrate deeply into the tissues to safely and effectively promote healing.  Most of my patients with shoulder issues treated with 9-12 sessions of laser light therapy heal quickly, take less pain medication and are able to resume work and normal activities.

So take care of your hard working shoulders.   With laser light therapy, stretching, and therapeutic exercise, you may be able to enjoy relief from shoulder pain.

Wondering if laser therapy is right for you? Dr. Macdonald offers a free 15-minute consultation. Contact her naturopathic medical clinic in downtown Courtenay at (250) 897-0235 or via this website.

FAQ about Laser Therapy

Hip Pain Relief with Laser Therapy

Hip pain can be a real pain in the butt!  Understanding the cause of your hip pain will help you determine the best treatment for you.  There are non-surgical solutions to hip pain, even for degenerative osteoarthritis of the hip.

Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis is basically wear and tear in the ball and socket joint.  The “ball” is the head of the femur (upper leg bone) and the socket is the acetabulum- a part of the pelvis.  It is important to differentiate true hip pain from other types of pain in the hip region. True hip pain is usually felt towards the front, in the groin region. It may radiate down the front of the thigh.  The most effective non-surgical therapy for hip arthritis is low level laser therapy.  It is a painless technique proven to significantly reduce the signs and symptoms of arthritis.  I have used laser light therapy since 2007 in my naturopathic medical practice and have had many patients with hip arthritis regain mobility and reduce pain dramatically.

Greater Trochanteric Bursitis:

Pain felt on the lateral part of the hip (side of the hip) is usually due to greater trochanteric bursitis. It is aggravated by walking, lying down on the affected side, and crossing the leg of the affected side. It can be painful to press on the boney part of the side of the hip.  This is the most common cause of hip pain that I see in clinical practice.  I use state of the art laser light therapy to relieve this condition.  In most cases, 8 to 10 thirty minute treatments alleviates the problem and patients can regain mobility and enjoy a good night sleep again.  There are other bursas in the hip area that can create acute pain, often in the front groin area.  Laser therapy reduces inflammation and pain in any bursitis.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction:

The Sacroiliac joints are located at the very bottom of the back. There is one on either side of the spine. The Sacroiliac joints help make up the rear part of the pelvic girdle and sit between the sacrum and the Ilia (hip bones).  These joints provide subtle movement in the pelvic girdle when walking.  They can become malaligned, too mobile or too fixed resulting in problems with surrounding structures such as ligaments and muscles.  Therefore, sacroiliac joint problems can cause a wide range of symptoms throughout the lower back and buttocks, or even into the thigh or groin.

Classic symptoms are:

  • Difficulty turning over in bed
  • Struggling to put on shoes and socks
  • Pain getting your legs in and out of the car
  • Stiffness in the lower back when getting up after sitting for long periods and when getting up from bed in the morning
  • Aching on one side of your lower back when driving long distances
  • There may be tenderness on palpating the large ligaments which surround the joint and hold it together.

There are many approaches to relieving sacroiliac joint problems, such as chiropractic adjustments and other manual techniques to re-align the joint.  Laser therapy effectively targets the ligaments that are strained in the joint, quickly reducing pain. Strengthening the ligaments that provide the joint structure, laser therapy often creates long term results.

Piriformis syndrome:

The piriformis muscle runs across the buttock from the edge of the sacrum to the top of the femur, specifically at the greater trochanter.  If this muscle is tight, it can aggravate both trochanteric bursitis and sacroiliac joint problems.  It is also one possible cause of sciatic nerve pain that can run down the leg.  The sciatic nerve runs through the belly of the piriformis muscle, so if the muscle is tight, the nerve can become irritated.

Treatments can include stretches that target the muscle, massage for the area, and laser light therapy.  Laser light therapy increases circulation to the muscle, triples the energy output of muscle cells (ATP), causes nutrients to flood the cells, increases collagen synthesis and ultimately speeds the healing process and results in rapid resolution of muscle and ligament problems.

Referred pain from the nerves in the spine:

Pain felt in the buttock is often referred from the lower back.  Degeneration of the spinal vertebrae can result in narrowed channels for the nerves that exit the spine (spinal stenosis). Nerves can become pinched and pain can be felt both in the spine and down the buttocks and legs (as in sciatica).  Degenerated or protruding discs can also cause pressure on the nerves that affect the hip area.

In my experience only about 5% of patients truly require surgery for such problems.  Laser light therapy has been shown to significantly reduce pain from disc disease in over 90% of patients in a Canadian clinical trial.  Spinal stenosis also responds well to this treatment that is used in physiotherapy clinics across Canada.  I use a state of the art laser light therapy machine called Theralase.  Our laser probe provides a safe, high intensity treatment from nine laser beams.  Laser light stimulates cellular processes that help regenerate and heal damaged tissues.

So don’t suffer with hip and back pain.  When I assess a patient with hip pain, a detailed physical examination and medical history are critical in determining what the root of the problem is.  Then, with targeted, effective treatments, relief can often be had without drugs or surgery.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!

To book a free 15-minute consultation to see if laser therapy is right for you, or for more information about Dr. Deidre Macdonald’s naturopathic medical practice in downtown Courtenay, contact her office at (250) 897-0235 or via this web site. Most extended health plans accepted.

FAQ about Laser Therapy

Freedom from Pain – At any Age

If you are retired, these are your years and you should enjoy them without unnecessary nagging pain.  For many people, old injuries, arthritis or back pain can get in the way of fully enjoying this stage of life.  Thousands of people world wide have enjoyed pain relief and improved quality of life thanks to new advances in laser therapy

The good news for pain sufferers is that with the painless approach of laser light therapy, rapid healing occurs.  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 tendonitis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, ligament issues, disc herniation, nerve pain, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, post surgical recovery and more.  There have been over 2,500 scientific studies done on laser light therapy over 50 years.  For example, the Cochrane medical review confirmed that 5 well designed studies concluded that laser therapy was an effective treatment for back pain. General Motors did a study on carpal tunnel syndrome showing a quicker return to work when laser therapy was used and other studies showed an 84% success rate with carpal tunnel syndrome. A meta-analysis of eight placebo controlled studies demonstrated that laser therapy reduced pain and increased mobility in osteoarthritis of the knee.  Studies comparing the effect of various physiotherapy machines on osteoarthritis of the knee showed that laser therapy had the greatest short and long term pain relieving effect.  Excellent results are being achieved particularly with new breakthroughs in the technology.  The laser machine available now have nine laser beams per treatment head, enabling faster and more powerful treatment of larger areas than the traditional older, single laser units.

This technology enhances healing of tissues, thus creating long term effects.  It bathes tissue with photons.  Photons are particles of energy that are absorbed by cells and ramp up a number of positive healing 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.  Laser therapy doesn`t just mask the pain, it accelerates the healing process and treats the injured tissue in a lasting fashion.  Numerous scientific studies have pinpointed the mechanism by which it speeds healing, such as increasing the fuel within the cell (ATP) by 300%, improving blood supply, and enhancing cell replication.

Dr. Macdonald’s clinic uses a state-of-the-art laser machine called the Theralase-1000 which is used by thousands of practitioners worldwide. This type of cold laser therapy is painless, highly effective and there are no known serious side effects.  So if you are looking forward to a retirement filled with traveling, golf, gardening and more, make sure that your body gets all the help it needs to let you live life to the fullest.

To find out more about laser therapy,  call for a complimentary 15 minute introductory evaluation with Dr. Macdonald at 897-0235. 

Dr. Deidre Macdonald is a naturopathic physician with a natural family medical practice in downtown Courtenay.

FAQ about Laser Therapy

LASER THERAPY FOR PAIN RELIEF

Naturopathic physician, Dr. Deidre Macdonald is pleased to announce the arrival to the Comox Valley of a high tech solution for people suffering from spinal, joint and muscle pain. Low level laser therapy is the technology that caught her attention when it healed a back problem she had suffered with for six years. Dr. Macdonald said, “The results I got after a few treatments were better than I had received from the 13 practitioners from whom I had sought treatment previously.” The good news for pain sufferers is that with the painless approach of laser light, rapid healing occurs. 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 tendonitis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, ligament issues, disc herniation, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis and post surgical recovery. Dr. Macdonald notes that “when I started looking into this technology I was impressed that there have been 1,200 scientific studies done on it over 50 years. Excellent results are being achieved particularly with new breakthroughs in the technology. The laser machine I settled on is truly state of the art. Unlike most laser machines, it has 2 large wrap-around treatment heads with 120 laser diodes each, enabling fast and powerful treatment of larger areas than the traditional older single laser units.”

This technology uses superluminous and laser diodes to bathe abnormal tissue with photons. Photons are particles of energy that are absorbed by a variety of components within the cell, a process which initiates 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 and as logic dictates, symptoms disappear.

The Theralase laser device used in Dr. Deidre Macdonald’s naturopathic medical clinic is Health Canada approved and is used in hospital physiotherapy clinics and burn units around the world. The therapy is non-invasive, painless, non-toxic, highly effective and there are no known side effects. Numerous scientific studies have pinpointed the mechanism by which it speeds healing. The specific frequencies of laser light used cause an:

ATP production is increased resulting in improved cellular energy and metabolism

  • Mitochondrial activity is stimulated resulting in cell replication etc. (ie replacement, regeneration and repair of abnormal cells)
  • DNA production; protein building block of tissue is substantially increased
  • Neurotransmission is facilitated due to elevated levels of serotonin and acetylcholine
  • Modulation of macrophages, fibroblasts and other cells
  • Angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) improves blood supply to healing tissue
  • Regulates cell membrane potential, essential in Na, Cl, and K ion transfer (electrolyte balance)
  • Cytokines and other chemicals enhancing cellular communications are released

To find out more about this state of the art laser device call for a complimentary 15 minute introductory evaluation with Dr. Macdonald at (250) 897-0235.

Dr. Deidre Macdonald is a naturopathic physician with a natural family medical practice in downtown Courtenay. Her office can be reached at (250) 897-0235 or via this website

FAQ about Laser Therapy