Back Pain & Laser Therapy
By Fred Kahn, MD, FRCS(C)
President Meditech International Inc.
Maintenance and Prevention
Muscle strengthening, stretching and maintenance programs based on exercise are helpful. In the advancing years, these should be moderate in degree but daily and vigorous; generally one half hour plus in duration (i.e. stretching, swimming, walking, Pilates, Yoga, etc.). This will keep the muscles strong and the tissues flexible. For optimum health this measure should be complemented with a balanced diet, vitamin and mineral supplements and the avoidance of inappropriate stress both physical and mental.
If the above methodologies are instituted in a disciplined, systematic fashion, most pathological conditions are minimized, delayed or avoided completely. Once symptoms have become established and cannot be controlled by conventional measures (i.e. analgesics, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), muscle relaxants and cortisone) a serious problem develops. The aforementioned measures simply mask or modulate symptoms but have no healing effect on the cells which compose the various tissue structures.
In due course, surgery may be necessary (i.e. joint replacements, laminectomy, discectomies, fusions, etc.). In essence these therapies have limited curative benefit with regard to cellular health and indeed in most cases produce a long term deleterious effect that may be more harmful than the original disease.
All conventional therapies currently in use modulate symptoms but do not cure the pathology. Surgery attempts to repair the problem and is sometimes successful, but more frequently than not it falls short of its objectives and may make the condition worse and irreversible.
Muscle atrophy, diminished bulk, tone and flexibility and good posture are frequently encountered, causing the spinal column to collapse. This deterioration creates numerous biomechanical imbalances. The result of these developments places increasing stress on the vertebrae, discs and ligaments that form and maintain the basic infrastructure of the body.
The spine, which is the pillar of the architecture, is no longer supported by a vibrant musculature. This is comparable to the bricks and mortar around a steel skyscraper and when this breaks down it results in numerous pathological conditions which can be extremely painful and physically restrictive.
The inherent problems are compounded by weekend or periodic strenuous activities on the part of the individual whose tissues are dormant during the week and are then subjected to physical stress for which they are not prepared. The recommended “minutes” of stretching prior to activity is really of minimal help. This is one of the major mobility problems facing bipeds in the age of technology. As people live longer, tissues are also subjected to the “wear and tear” of the aging process, characterized as “degenerative osteoarthritis”. The combination of disuse due to the sedentary factor and degeneration of the tissues as a result of aging produces multiple problems of the joints, cartilage and soft tissues of the spine, for reasons which are readily apparent. The spine supports the weight of the upper body and the functional stress imposed by the lower body and by virtue of its perpendicular state the complexity of the discs, vertebrae, facets, etc. make it the largest and certainly the most vulnerable structure in the entire body.
As degeneration progresses there is increasing osteophyte formation, chronic and acute inflammation of the surrounding tissues, scar tissue formation, joint contracture, etc. Other more ominous complications accompany these events (i.e. stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal with compression of the cord and the foramina through which nerve roots exit from the spinal canal).
In high level athletes the process is dramatically accelerated. Excessive exposure to high levels of activity speeds up the wear and tear phenomenon. It is not unusual in our practice to see fifteen year old gymnasts with spinal X-rays and symptoms that resemble someone in the 6th or 7th decade of life; a rather elementary conclusion one might add. Whether secondary to activity, trauma or degeneration, back-ache has become one of the major healthcare problems in our society and the economic impact is astronomical.
Few individuals go through life without back problems and the burden on the healthcare system increases exponentially as people live longer and increasingly develop arthritis. The elderly, whose problems all too frequently are neglected, often end up in a wheelchair; the younger and healthier members of society following traumatic episodes lapse into a lifetime of inactivity. Both add to the socio-economic burden.
Back problems are seldom simple and often complex. Even a routine disc herniation occurring in a teenager while sneezing during a moment of relaxation of the musculature, results in nerve root compression and scar tissue formation. Chemicals released from the disintegration of the nucleosus pulposus may cause acute/chronic irritation of nerve roots such as osteophytes, disc fragments and scar tissue result in nerve root compression, often with loss of sensation or even motor paralysis. The process is invariably accelerated in professional athletes and those who have performed many years of intense manual labour.
Laser Therapy for Back Pain
Individuals that suffer from back pain and arthritis can benefit significantly from Laser Therapy. This includes athletes suffering from myofascitis, facet joint syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and disc herniations with nerve root compression. More significantly, dramatic effects are obtained by sufferers of chronic degenerative osteoarthritis accompanied by spinal/foraminal stenosis with attendant neurological complications.
Many of the patients who come to us, arrive in wheelchairs or utilize canes; many have been bedridden for years. Usually after five to twenty treatments which are totally non-invasive, painless and easily applied, they become ambulatory and voluntarily lose their drug dependencies along with their mechanical supports. More significantly they experience the elimination of pain and regain mobility and quality of life. Included are patients who have been taking up to thirty Tylenol tablets per day and over the past years have taken as many as fourteen medications at the same time. The latter, in itself, often results in addiction problems, sometimes worse than the basic pathology.
The most promising and least known technology currently available and one that can be delivered in a highly scientific non-invasive fashion is Low Intensity Laser Therapy.
At Meditech we have developed a delivery system that is currently the most advanced on a global basis achieving a significant improvement/cure rate with all the above entities. The BioFlex Low Intensity Laser Therapy System is truly the ideal therapeutic approach for back problems in the 21st century.
The therapy acts by converting light into biochemical energy, resulting in normal cell morphology and function, which causes symptoms to disappear. Aside from the gradual elimination of inflammation, various degrees of the ablation of scar tissue, and osteophytes at all levels, there appears to be little question that a thin layer of cartilaginous regeneration can occur. We achieve a success rate of 93 percent.
Patients at the completion of the treatment often state “Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?” As Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” Perhaps the medium should re-evaluate its objectives.
With “back problems” laser therapy should be the universal treatment approach and clearly establish its role as the treatment of choice. Thousands of our patients would agree.
BioFlex Laser Therapy is available at LightSpeed Physiotherapy. We combine laser therapy with traditional physiotherapy to obtain superior results. Our treatment program is classified as 'Physiotherapy' for insurance claimants. Auto insurance will cover 100% of treatment costs if you were in an auto accident. For more information on insurance please visit Insurance.