• Dr. Jason Rountree

The two most popular laser therapy topics

This is the one-year mark that we have been producing the "Healing at the Speed of Light" podcast, which has been challenging and exciting for us, and I hope useful to you! If you've been listening in, we started doing this podcast because I have gotten questions for years now about "how do you know that laser works?" as well as patients that want to know more about the research that's out there. So, I thought for today, what would be kind of neat is to go back through the thousands of downloads we've had and select a couple of the top performing topics that we've covered, and then talk more about them and why they're interesting to people and hopefully connect you with some additional episodes that maybe you missed.


Neuropathy

Now, the number one most downloaded episodes were episodes about neuropathy. And we've talked about neuropathy a lot on the podcast, as a matter of fact, we have done eight episodes on neuropathy and nerve regeneration. I'd encourage you to go back and make sure you caught all those because they all address neuropathy from different angles, different types of neuropathy, how it happens, and how laser has been shown to be helpful. And I think this is an interesting topic for people because with neuropathy, you have a condition that is really bothersome. It can keep you awake at night. It can make you unsure of your footing. It can really take away the joy from a day when you're dealing with this continuous burning, tingling and stinging either in the feet or the hands. Additionally, there's poor outcomes for neuropathy, meaning that many patients with neuropathy develop ulcers, non-healing wounds on the feet that can lead to amputation, or it increases the risk of falling. And when you fall, you open up yourself to risks of traumatic brain injury or broken bones. Many times, neuropathy can set in fairly rapidly, seemingly out of the blue for a lot of folks. And then the next factor is that there are very few treatment options. Patients start to notice the burning and stinging and maybe the loss of balance or you notice you're having a hard time telling where your feet are landing. Once you go see your doc and get a diagnosis, many times there is almost nothing offered for treatment beyond sometimes some medications. And some of the medications can be addictive. They can be damaging as far as side effects go. And really, they're only designed to quiet the symptoms. Bringing the symptoms down is a good thing, don't get me wrong. It's good to be able to sleep. And it's good to be able to focus on something besides the way that you, uh, are feeling. But at the same time, if you're just reducing the symptoms, you're not really preventing this thing from getting worse potentially, or at the very least being stuck on medications for years.


I think between the difficulty of the day-to-day life of dealing with neuropathy, plus the fact that there are overall bad outcomes associated with having neuropathy, and the fact that there are very few treatment options for neuropathy, has made this topic more interesting for patients. I also believe laser therapy is actually getting a little more popular when it comes to hearing about what laser can help with, with a focus on delivering care that can reduce the symptoms of neuropathy naturally without medications, without side effects and risky treatments.


Now, if you're just joining us, we're not talking about laser surgery. That is a different process. We're talking about stimulating the body's repair mechanisms using a lower dose laser that can deliver a stimulating effect by producing better blood flow to the nerves, and also stimulating more production of cellular energy within those nerve cells, so that they can function better and repair. Because the nerve pain comes from the nerves being starved of circulation and then being damaged. And of course, as a reminder, this blog is not meant to be medical advice. I'm not going to advise you to go off of any medications or to seek a specific treatment. But we've got a lot of evidence that laser therapy can be very helpful for nerve damage and neuropathy conditions. Get evaluated by a local health professional, who does laser therapy, if you want to find out if this could be an option for you.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

The second most in demand topic that we covered in the last year was rheumatoid arthritis. Now rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis. Many times it is seen in the hands and the fingers, where the fingers become malformed and twisted. It can be very painful. It can happen in other areas of the body too, including the neck and the shoulders and some of the other joints. But rheumatoid arthritis is not osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is that wear and tear degenerative change. It can take place within any joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is the body's own immune system, getting out of control and then attacking certain joints and "eating" them from the inside out. It leads to a lot of joint damage and is very, very painful, very difficult to control.


Rheumatoid arthritis patients may be placed on a type of chemotherapy drug to try and reduce the amount of aggressive immune system reaction that's happening there. Now, as in many other conditions, medications can be very helpful, and these medications do attack the cause of this disorder because you're reducing the body's aggressive immune response. So, the chemotherapy regimen can be something that really reduces the joint damage and the bone erosion that can happen with this chronic inflammatory response. But at the same time, as most of us know, there are side effects to chemotherapy, including neuropathy.


Here at Montana Laser and Medical Center, I've seen many patients with rheumatoid arthritis that were either able to avoid getting on the chemotherapy drug regimen or be able to discontinue it under their doctor's supervision because their symptoms improved so well.

And with laser therapy, you're looking at no side effects, and no medication interactions. With rheumatoid arthritis, we have over 20 studies that have been done on how laser therapy can be used for rheumatoid arthritis. Now there's some mixed results on those studies because we're still learning a lot about how laser can be applied to this inflammatory disease. But even as far back as the 90's, we've been seeing evidence that laser therapy can work well for this inflammatory rheumatoid arthritis condition, and in many cases, laser can be an excellent choice. You can learn more right here on our website, and for even more information, go to Laser Therapy Institute.

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