Laser Therapy for Pain Relief from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Laser Therapy for Pain Relief from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause leg pain and numbness. The symptoms of this lower back problem can prevent someone from working, taking care of their family, or enjoying their favorite hobby or sport. Fortunately, many people are gaining relief from the pain and numbness of lumbar spinal stenosis with laser therapy.

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6 Tips for Managing Wellness During the Holidays

With all the merrymaking of gift-giving, decorating, feasts, and parties, personal wellness can take a back seat during the holidays — there just isn’t time to plan, shop, prep, and cook healthy meals or hit the gym for your daily exercise. Stress can also be a factor, especially if your work life gets busier during the holidays, you are stretched for gift-giving cash, and your family engages in boisterous conversations over the dinner table. All of these factors can affect your wellness.

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Save on Your 2021 Taxes & Grow Your Practice in 2022

Save on Your 2020 Taxes & Grow Your Practice in 2021

2020 has been a year unlike any other, and if you’re a small practice owner, you’re probably feeling the hurt—and the last thing you might want to do is add equipment to your practice. But adding equipment and services like a new therapy laser from Aspen Laser can actually help you save on your 2020 taxes and help you grow your business in the coming year.

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Guide To Setting Your Clinic’s 2022 Goals

Guide To Setting Your Clinic’s 2022 Goals

As with other aspects of your medical practice, setting goals is a balancing act of fiscal responsibility, keeping up with the latest medical innovations, and most importantly, continuing to make your patients the main priority.

While these are important general ideals, setting goals is all about the specifics, especially when going into 2022. What are the current healthcare gaps in the community? How can you let your service area know what makes your practice stand out? What types of technology should the practice invest in to add the maximum therapeutic benefit? How can all of these goals be achieved within a framework of keeping the practice financially stable?

Kickstarting the Process

Before you can begin creating your goals for the New Year, it’s essential to gather information on a company-wide basis.

Start by talking to your department heads to “take the temperature” of varying objectives in all your departments, from your medical team to Human Resources and the billing department. If you have important consultants, this would also be a good time to hear from them on issues such as vendor selection.

It’s also important to set up a facility-wide polling system, rather than hearing only from the managers. Depending on the size of your practice, the process could be as informal as brainstorming at a group retreat or as structured as a questionnaire distributed to multiple departments.

More important than what polling method you use is making sure you hear from everyone who works at or with the practice, from bookkeepers to the janitorial staff, as well as the direct health care providers.

Also, consider emailing current patients and asking them to fill out a questionnaire. You can also put a questionnaire on your website for a limited period. Make sure to add a line for online visitors to specify whether they’re current or prospective patients.

Knowing What To Ask

If you find that any initial feedback is too vague, it can help to add prompts to your questions.

For example, you might inquire what role employees and patients feel the practice currently holds in the community and whether that role needs to be fine-tuned in 2022. What makes the practice better than others, or potentially not as strong? What services do patients and visitors most often ask to be added to the practice, or at least expanded? Is there anything the practice offers that hasn’t been well-received?

Once you have a collection of goals, it’s time to evaluate that data. Determine which objectives came up most often across the different groups you’ve asked. That doesn’t automatically mean that the most popular ones need to be given the highest priority, but it will give you a baseline going forward.

Finally, separate these suggestions into long-term and short-term goals. Many of these will sort themselves into obvious categories — upgrading the break room coffee maker is short-term, while building a new wing is long-term — but others may call for one final brainstorming session so that more people can weigh in on creating the final priorities list.

Interpreting the Feedback

Because you’ll be getting feedback from a range of sources, the next step in the process may well be to contextualize some of the comments into easily understood goals for 2022.

Chances are, the responses will fall into at least some of these larger categories:

  • Expand staff training and certification opportunities.
  • Invest in new therapeutic technologies.
  • Replace outdated office equipment.
  • Recruit new staff for specific gaps in the practice.
  • Attract new patients.
  • Improve experience ratings from current patients.
  • Persuade more patients to come in for preventative screenings.
  • Create more opportunities for patient monitoring.
  • Upgrade billing systems.
  • Manage available funds more efficiently.
  • Add an agreed-upon number of new services.
  • Upgrade the practice’s website and/or make it more user-friendly.
  • Add cash-based services that can free up funding when insurance reimbursements lag.

Creating Accountability

Remember, you’re not setting goals to boost the morale of your employees and patients, nor are you using the new goals as a way of communicating your “brand” or “general mission” to the community. Instead, these need to be objectives you intend to accomplish, whether in the upcoming month or as part of the five-year plan.

How can you make sure that your goals are realized? First, do the hard work of assigning objectives to the right department. The reality is that your medical practice will need all hands on deck to make crucial improvements.

Work with your department leaders to set realistic time frames for each goal that their department is responsible for. Encourage them to not only let you know the progress they’ve made but to make sure that their own team members also feel part of the “accountability chain.”

Aspen Laser is proud of its history of helping medical practices achieve many of their therapeutic goals through its wide range of programs and products. Let us know how we can best help you meet your objectives as a healthcare provider.

Reduce Pain & Improve Quality of Life with Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia

Mysterious and difficult to diagnose, fibromyalgia is one of the most misunderstood chronic disorders in medicine today. This complex condition is characterized by widespread pain, along with muscle tenderness, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. With no cure for fibromyalgia, many of those diagnosed with the disease experience a lot of pain without knowing when, if, or how it might reduce or disappear.

Fibromyalgia treatment is generally focused on pain management, which is crucial to reducing discomfort and improving quality of life. Many times, people need to step outside of traditional medical treatments found when seeking treatment for a complex condition like fibromyalgia. For many, alternative treatments can provide meaningful relief for the chronic pain and inflammation that accompanies fibromyalgia.

What Does Fibromyalgia Pain Feel Like?

Fibromyalgia pain varies from person to person. While some common threads can be found, if you’ve recently received a fibromyalgia diagnosis or are currently pursuing fibromyalgia as a cause for your chronic pain, you may experience some or all of the following:

  • A burning pain or pins-and-needles sensation
  • Aching all over, sometimes described as having “been pounded by a meat tenderizer”
  • Experiencing sharp pain from minor sensations, like a cold breeze or gentle handshake
  • Cognitive challenges referred to as “fibro fog,” resulting in lack of concentration
  • Insomnia or other problems falling or staying asleep
  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs

Fibromyalgia also frequently presents with other conditions, called comorbidities, commonly including:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

How Can Laser Therapy Help Ease Fibromyalgia Pain?

If traditional treatments for fibromyalgia pain fail, or don’t feel like enough, or cause other unwanted side effects, you may start to feel hopeless. Seeking more help can be exhausting. But not every person responds the same way to the same treatment, and there are other options, if your current treatment plan isn’t working as intended.

One alternative – or additional treatment – for those suffering chronic pain is laser therapy. Let’s take a look at how this noninvasive, pain-free treatment can help manage pain caused by fibromyalgia.

What Is Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy has become an increasingly popular treatment for fibromyalgia and a myriad of other conditions. Laser therapy is a type of photobiomodulation therapy, featuring a broad variety of applications to relieve pain and repair damage throughout the body.

In this treatment, a high-powered therapeutic laser featuring red and near-infrared light wavelengths is used to enhance cellular energy production, by targeting the mitochondria. Treatment increases the body’s circulation and inflammation mediator levels, removes any waste, and repairs damage that causes pain and discomfort without pharmacological intervention. Those who want to avoid any pharmaceuticals or are sensitive to medications, including over-the-counter (OTR) medications, have increasingly sought laser therapy treatment.

Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia Pain

Patients involved in a review and meta-analysis of laser therapy treating fibromyalgia pain demonstrated significantly greater improvement in their Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) scores. Further, the Fibrowomen website reported that 75% experience reduced pain in their hands, in a recent study focused on laser treatments.

The Benefits of Laser Therapy for Fibromyalgia Pain Management

Laser therapy has a lot to offer fibromyalgia sufferers. Here are some essential benefits to keep in mind once you start seriously considering this therapy treatment.

Painless

You already deal with enough pain daily, so you don’t want to add any treatments that make things worse, even if temporary. With many laser therapy devices cleared by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), laser therapy is a safe and effective pain treatment. This non-invasive technology-based therapy stimulates your body’s immune system to spark cellular repair and waste removal.

Drug-Free/Non-Pharmacological

One side effect you don’t need to worry about when relying on laser therapy is drug dependency, such as addiction to opioids for those who use it to soothe musculoskeletal pain. With laser therapy, you will experience a drug-free and non-pharmacological treatment that is effective without any risk of addiction. Additionally, laser therapy doesn’t interact with most medications, so, if you are taking something for an infection, another condition, or for pain, laser therapy won’t harm that medication’s effectiveness. But always be sure to talk with your doctor about any medications you’re taking before starting any kind of additional therapy.

Customizable

Since laser therapy is customizable, it can treat a broad range of disorders and conditions, including fibromyalgia and much more. An advanced laser therapy device allows the technician to adjust the wavelength and power output of the laser to match your specific needs.

Are You Ready to Start Improving Your Quality of Life with Laser Therapy Treatments for Fibromyalgia?

A fibromyalgia diagnosis can be a relief and another weight on your shoulders. Understanding the root of your chronic pain after a long and frustinging diagnosis process is a win, but the path forward for treatment may not be straightforward. If you’re looking for relief or a different application for pain management, laser therapy may be an option for you. Learn more about managing pain with laser therapy, or find a laser therapy specialist near you.

How Laser Therapy Can Accelerate Bone Healing

How Laser Therapy Can Accelerate Bone Healing

We’ve previously covered how laser therapy helps accelerate healing in the body in a variety of conditions by stimulating our body’s natural healing processes. Let’s take this topic a step further: Did you know that research has been done to investigate how laser therapy can even accelerate bone healing?

How Laser Therapy Activates Natural Healing Processes

Laser therapy encourages numerous biological effects throughout the body. Among other benefits, the laser waves stimulate the body’s own ability to heal itself. Laser light works on many aspects of the healing process. It is a form of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), which means the body absorbs light and then experiences a biological change that is stimulated by light therapy.

Natural Processes Stimulated by Laser Therapy

  • Pain relief
  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Faster wound healing
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Nerve recovery and regeneration
  • Reduced scar tissue
  • Improved immune system processes
  • Improved vascular activity, which helps bring nutrients to an injured area, reduces swelling, and helps remove waste cells
  • Improved metabolic activity, which helps cells take in nutrients and get rid of waste to better repair muscles, tendons, and other areas

How Laser Therapy Can Accelerate Bone Healing

Numerous studies in medical journals have found positive results of using laser therapy to encourage bone healing. Here are a few we collected:

A study in the journal Lasers in Medical Science looked at how low-level laser therapy (LLLT) would impact fracture healing. The study performed on rabbits given tibial bone open osteotomies split into a group receiving treatment and a control group. After five weeks, the researchers noted a statistically significant higher rate of bone mineral density in the group receiving the laser treatment compared to the control group. The laser was seen as a way to potentially enhance callus development during the early stages of bone healing.

We can also look at a randomized controlled study in the same journal that looked at how LLLT would impact femoral fracture bone repair. In the study, rats received an ostectomy with LLLT as a treatment or an ostectomy with a sham laser as the control group. Researchers looked at the fracture after eight, 13, and 18 days. The LLLT group showed increased newly formed bone and the expression of bone matrix proteins in the LLLT group, as well as other positive markers of healing. Researchers concluded that low-level laser therapy can be used to support the formation of bone tissue and as an adjunct therapeutic tool to help with fracture healing.

Finally, a review in the Journal of Dentistry looked at various studies of low-intensity laser therapy (LILT), checking for biomodulation effects on bone-derived stem cells. It looked at 25 studies, including a mix of in vitro and animal studies. The review found that 11 of the 13 in vitro studies showed accelerated cell proliferation and differentiation due to the treatment, which was positive for bone healing. All of the animal studies found better bone healing from the laser treatment. Researchers concluded from the review that LILT is capable of accelerating bone healing.

Importance of Laser Therapy Dosage and Treatment Customization

One consideration of laser therapy is the dosage of light. The studies we looked at covered low-intensity light therapy, yet there are different therapeutic wavelengths of light. Treatment customization is an important part of getting the right results.

Exposing yourself to any light would not produce the same effects as laser therapy. That is because this therapy uses certain light wavelengths that stimulate therapeutic activities within the body. Visible light wavelengths range from 400nm to 700nm. But it’s the light you can’t see that causes benefits within the body. This is light in the infrared spectrum, which varies from 700nm to 1mm. These wavelengths are larger than the ones we can see. The ones within this range that are closest to visible light on the spectrum, which range from 800 to 2,500nm, are called near-infrared. Practitioners use wavelengths between 600nm and 1,000nm to encourage biological actions. The light in this range can enter tissue and impact cells.

Practitioners are able to customize the wavelengths to fit the situation and gain the best results. Different wavelength ranges are better for certain goals. For instance, the 600 to 700nm range is good for wounds and skin concerns, while 800 to 900nm treats pain and tissue problems. Also, high-intensity laser therapy provides a deep-penetrating option by using a 1064nm wavelength that reaches deeper body tissue.

Customize Light Therapy With the Right Laser System

Gain the best results for your patients by having access to a broader range of light wavelengths. Rather than using a laser therapy unit with a limited wavelength range, consider an advanced system like the Apex Laser System that allows you to use 810, 980, and 1064nm wavelengths to adjust to each patient’s needs.

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Advanced Laser Therapy

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Advanced Laser Therapy

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition, as it ends up getting in the way of normal hand strength, grip, and mobility. Nonetheless, this is a common peripheral nerve disorder, because it’s often associated with repetitive use of the hands.

Fortunately, there is a treatment for this condition that takes a more natural approach as an alternative to pain medications or surgery. This treatment is advanced laser therapy. Let’s take a look at what it is and how it helps this problem.

How Does Carpal Tunnel Start?

CTS is generally caused by repetitive hand work and overuse injuries, so it can happen when people perform the same hand movements over and over. People can develop this problem from their work activities like continuous typing or hands-on work, such as kneading dough or turning a screwdriver. It can also arise from hobbies that involve the hands, such as gaming with a controller, knitting, or using a smartphone.

Nonetheless, there are some other causes of CTS as well. These include:

  • A family history
  • Arthritis or another joint/bone disease
  • Hormonal changes
  • Wrist injury

Regardless of the cause, CTS results in the same kinds of symptoms.

Why Is Carpal Tunnel a Problem?

In time, the continuous movement of the hand and wrist creates problems. It tends to go beyond slight pain or discomfort that would go away when you stop the movement and instead can become a continuous, progressive concern that interferes with your daily activities and quality of life.

This problem affects the median nerve of the wrist, through an entrapment neuropathy that often results in pain and inflammation. Other symptoms may include numbness, weakness, and tingling in the hands and fingers. A medical professional can provide a diagnosis to determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Are Treatment Options for CTS?

Hand surgery is often used for carpal tunnel syndrome. But this is not the only option and may not always be necessary or the optimal first course of action, especially for mild to moderate cases.

Also, people may use pain medications to help with the pain and discomfort, yet these do not solve the problem, and many people do not want to continuously use them. These options include over-the-counter pain medications, prescription pain medications, or cortisone injections.

Advanced laser therapy offers an alternative as a non-surgical, non-pharmacological pain management tool and way to treat carpal tunnel and its symptoms.

How Can Advanced Laser Therapy Help?

Advanced laser therapy is a tool that can address the symptoms of CTS and promote nerve regeneration. This treatment may go by different names, including cold laser therapy, low level laser therapy, red light therapy, or photobiomodulation therapy.

This type of therapy is associated with various actions that could help the hands and wrists affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Relieving pain
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Stimulating healing of damaged tissue

Even more impressive and helpful for CTS, photobiomodulation can help the body regenerate nerves. It does this by encouraging the body’s own processes that regenerate and heal nerves. By emitting light wavelengths that reach the body’s deep tissue, laser therapy encourages the body to produce nerve growth factors. It helps speed up the body’s nerve healing ability, which tends to be slow on its own. When nerves are healed, the person gains an improved ability of the affected part of the body to communicate with the brain, which improves associated symptoms of the disconnection.

Does Laser Therapy Really Work?

Research backs up the idea that laser therapy can help alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms. A study in the Journal of the Faculty of Medicine Baghdad looked at low level laser therapy (LLLT) compared to a sham laser for mild to moderate CTS. The study found that laser therapy resulted in a significant pain reduction of 70.9 percent, among other benefits.

Also, a systematic review and meta-analysis, published in the journal, Medicine, was carried out to see if low level laser therapy is effective for mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. The review found that laser therapy showed significant improvement in hand grip strength, in the visual analog scale (VAS), and in the sensory nerve action potential (SNAP).

Laser Therapy From Aspen Laser

Laser therapy provides a safe, effective, non-pharmacological, and non-surgical way to address carpal tunnel syndrome. Aspen Laser uses a high intensity laser therapy, which is an advanced laser treatment that offers deeply penetrating red and near-infrared light. Providers can adjust the wavelengths to stimulate the desired biologic effects in each patient. In this case, Aspen providers would perform photobiomodulation for the hands and wrists to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Happens When You Crack Your Back?

what happens when you crack your back

Have you cracked your back by moving a certain way, stretching, or with the help of a friend? Sometimes cracking your back helps relieve pain or stiffness. At other times, hearing the pop and snap just feels satisfying. So, what exactly happens when your back cracks? Is it dangerous?

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