I have talked a few times about the therapies that our offices offer and this post may come back to bite me in the butt because my preference and ideas have changed a little bit over the past year or so. Normally we offer electric stim, ultrasound, combo ultrasound, acupuncture and last year we added a low level laser to our repertoire.
I have always leaned pretty heavily on electric stim and ultrasound because people like them and they normally feel good, but I’m finding out that they don’t have much benefit long term in regards to clinical improvement. While the patient may like it while the therapy is being performed, the long term benefit is limited.
I will always have a preference to combo ultrasound for SI joint and lower back pain because I have seen some great results over the past couple of years with this type of therapy. Most of time when a patient presents to the office, it will scream combo ultrasound in my head as they are describing the symptoms and they will fall within a very specific criteria for that particular therapy.
Acupuncture is a whole different animal and I don’t really know why I even consider it a therapy because it could be a treatment all in itself. It is normally a therapy of last resort unless the patient requests it. Radicular leg pain with lower back pain can and will respond well to acupuncture, we use it quite a bit for headaches and honestly we are starting to get into using for extremities including symptoms of carpal tunnel and tennis elbow.
Now, let’s get into the topic of laser therapy for a little bit. If you would have asked me a year ago what my thoughts are about laser, I would have him-hawed the answer and tried to move onto another topic. But I bought a laser about a year ago and we have been getting some pretty cool results with it. From people that come in with neck pain, elbow pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis and even our bread and butter, back pain. I have started to use it more over the past couple of months and the results continue to impress me.
The purpose of therapies is to induce a healing response to a specific area, whether that is with an electrical current, a needle or a high powered light. More and more research is coming out to show that laser therapy can be beneficial for a wide array of conditions. Research is a crazy thing when it comes to these therapies because our profession is not known for doing wide ranging research and just taking a sales pitch and running with it.
If you know me at all you will know that I can be one stubborn SOB, but I will not be outdone by other practices when it comes to having the best options available for patients. Recently I purchased a second laser so that I won’t have to transport a laser back and forth between offices; I will literally have no excuse. Both offices are set up almost exactly alike, if you come to one, you will get the exact same treatment as the other.
In all seriousness, if you haven’t tried the laser yet, you may want to give it a try as it may be that missing piece that will get you over the hump, whether it is headaches, back pain, ankle pain, elbow pain or anything in between, you may be surprised what a session or two can do.