Back Pain and Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy provides relief from Back Pain

Back pain affects 80% of people at some point in their life. It is a major cause of loss of work, decreased life satisfaction, reduced activity and overuse of medication. A state of the art therapy for back pain called Low Level Laser therapy, is available in the Comox Valley. This technology has brought relief to 1000s of back pain sufferers. Practitioners who use it consistently state that laser therapy is the most effective, painless and non-invasive way to reduce inflammation and control pain.

What causes back pain: Back pain can be caused by the muscles and other soft tissue or by the vertebrae and nerves. Most back pain is caused by the muscles, ligaments and tendons with muscle spasm and inflammation being present in most back issues. A common cause of vertebral back issues is degeneration of the structures of the spine, often causing pinched nerves. Spinal stenosis, or impingement of the spinal cord and nerves, can be caused by, among other things, inflammation of the ligaments which encase the spinal cord. True disc problems only account for about 5% of cases of back pain. In fact, many people’s spines have bulging discs, but they will only experience pain if there is inflammation present. Inflammation and damaged, degenerated structures account for most back pain. Therefore, treatments should aim to reduce inflammation and reverse degeneration.

Traditional treatments: The first response for many back pain sufferers is to go to their medical doctor who may order x-rays, MRI or CT. While it is essential to attempt to diagnose the source of the problem, the treatment options available to MDs are very limited. Surgery is only appropriate for about 5% of back pain sufferers. Pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs may provide some needed short term relief, but they don’t address the cause of the problem or promote tissue healing. In addition, anti-inflammatories are very hard on the stomach lining and other organs of the body. The newer COX-2 inhibitors are no more effective than the older anti-inflammatories, cause only slightly less stomach problems, and are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events. Alternatively, chiropractic manipulation can help to align and mobilize the spine and pelvis, which is very important. It is not able to directly reduce inflammation and may be uncomfortable in an acutely inflamed back. Massage is important to improve circulation, drainage and to break up trigger points in the muscles. However, it can’t treat the inflammation and tissue damage that is inherent in back pain.

Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a treatment which is scientifically proven to target the inflammation and tissue damage that cause most back pain. Whether it is used alone or in combination with other treatments, it is a very effective therapy for giving people relief from back pain and allowing them to resume their activities. The esteemed medical review panel, The Cochran Review, found five well designed scientific studies showing that laser therapy was effective for back pain. In a study tracking 100 patients with confirmed disc problems, 90% of them resolved within 14 treatments with a state of the art laser machine. In addition, laser therapy has been proven to give long term relief from arthritis pain.

How does laser therapy work: Low level laser therapy stimulates restoration of function at many levels. In essence it promotes the healing of tissues from the skin to the deep spinal structures by increasing cellular ATP (fuel) output, improving circulation and lymphatic drainage, reducing inflammatory chemicals, and promoting cellular replication and collagen synthesis. The net effect is that healing occurs on the level of the muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves and tendons and pain is reduced or eliminated.

Dr. Macdonald’s comments: “Over the 15 years I have practiced as a naturopathic physician, I have seen so many people suffer from back pain, arthritis, and joint pain. It has given me great satisfaction to now have the ability to provide relief to patients who had tried so many other therapies and yet still suffered with chronic pain. If a course of laser therapy can reduce pain and allow my patient to increase their exercise and reduce their pain medications, then I know their long term health has been positively impacted. In fact, I was one of those people. After six years and 13 different practitioners, I was still suffering from chronic back pain. Laser therapy provided relief within a few sessions. I continue to use the laser therapy to heal up all the sports injuries I incur now that I am able to exercise vigorously again! “

The Theralase difference: Not all lasers are created equal. Older technology consists of a single low powered probe. The Theralase professional cold laser uses nine laser beams that simultaneously bring the power of light therapy to tissues.  This state of the art technology has helped thousands of people relieve the pain of spinal stenosis, sciatica, degenerative spinal conditions, arthritis, neck issues and more.

For more information about booking a no-charge, no obligation 15-minute laser therapy consultation with Dr. Deidre Macdonald contact her office in downtown Courtenay at (250) 897-0235 or via this website. Dr. Macdonald is a naturopathic physician who has been practicing medicine since 1997.