Disc Centers of America in Bellevue has adopted a new tool to help patients recover from pain and injuries: laser.
The Microlight ML830 laser has been shown to be effective for non-surgical treatment of pain. “It helps with things like carpal tunnel and shoulder, elbow, knees, bruising, strains, sprains stuff like that,” says Dr. Steven Thain, DC. “And it’s really effective with helping to heal discs.”
Thain says the clinic used to alternate heat and ice to encourage circulation and healing of an affected area. Now they’ve replaced the heat with laser.
“It’s called cold laser,” Thain said. “It doesn’t make anything cold, but unlike some types of lasers it doesn’t generate heat.”
The relatively low intensity of the laser, at a precise wavelength, has been reviewed in more than 500 scientific studies and found to be effective in improving circulation, which in turn speeds healing.
Laser stimulation opens up the tiny blood vessels that deliver nutrients and oxygen to the injured tissues. It also causes mitochondria, the “power plants” of cells, to deliver more of the energy needed for healing.
“I’ve had some phenomenal results,” Thain said. “One patient had a wrist issue and we did just six sessions of laser. This had been plaguing her for six months, and the treatment totally eliminated her problem.”
The laser doesn’t heal the injury, Thain stresses – it helps the body’s own recovery mechanisms and speeds the healing process. But sometimes the results can be dramatic.
“I remember one patient whose lower back was really in pain, and after we put the laser on it, they stood up and went ‘oh my God!’ So I’ve had some amazing ‘aha!’ ones like that, but that’s not usually the case.”
Laser is part of Disc Centers of America’s non-surgical disc treatment protocol, in addition to its many other applications. On its own or combined with other treatments, it is part of a care approach that can give patients their lives back without the risks of surgery.
“Anytime you can avoid cutting it’s a good idea,” Thain said. “One of my colleagues says the only surgery that’s not a major surgery is the one that’s not done on you.”
“One of the advantages of Disc Centers of America is that we can share our successes,” Thain said. “We were all using heat and ice, and on the east coast they said they were getting better results with cold laser. So on that recommendation, we implemented the laser into our protocols.”