Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert here with Dr. Harold Meinzer of Evolution Chiropractic in Vancouver, and we’re talking lasers. How are you doing today, Harold?
Dr Harold: I’m doing fantastic. Thanks, Mark.
Mark: So, probably the number one complaint of many, many people and I’m sure in your office, low back pain. And how does the laser help with low back pain?
Dr Harold: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. That’s probably what chiropractors are known best for is low back and treating low back. So, low back pain. Statistically it’s about 80% of adults are going to have some kind of low back pain in their lifetime. So that’s a huge number. And walking around right now we’re probably looking at about 25% of the adult population having some kind of low back pain as we speak. So it’s an epidemic out there and it has lots of different causes that can underlie it. Everything from our sedentary position as we’re sitting at desks, so much more, overuse, wear and tear. I guess as we get older are the arthritic changes, all those traumas, car accidents, falling off your ladder, falling out of the trampolines, as I always loved, arthritis, disc injuries, strain, sprain. I mean, there’s so many different ways you can injure your low back, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s so common.
Mark: So, what kind of symptoms do people have other than pain, basically?
Dr Harold: Well I find that the symptoms are what motivates people to get in the office. So lots of people are just walking around with that dull, low grade back pain, back ache. They get up in the morning, it’s painful, but it’s not enough to really interfere with their lives. And then, some incident, something happens and it really kind of pushes that pain level up. And then that can get really intense. That can be that sharp, unrelenting pain. And it can even include some of that, like a radiculopathy, something that’s running down into the extremities, like low back pain turning into your glutes, turning into your hamstring, running all the way down to your foot. That usually is something that grabs their attention for patients and then they’re on the phone to get in the office as soon as they can.
Mark: And you’d like to see them earlier in that process, obviously. Is that a fair assumption?
Dr Harold: Yeah, absolutely. Earlier is better, just because things are inflaming. There’s always an inflammatory component and when inflammation takes hold, pain levels go up, and then we’d rather see something in the acute stage than something that’s been chronic low grade for months and months or years. I see it in the office, people have low back pain for years and years. And it’s until it sort of affects their golf game, when they can’t go golfing or doing something they like in the garden, then that’s the big motivation, like, “I got to get this dealt with.”
Mark: And as far as diagnosing and in treatment, what’s the process there?
Dr Harold: Well, usually when you get to the office, we’re going to do a history, an examine and consultation on to what the problem is, and then figure out what the underlying root cause. And then from that point we’ll discuss a treatment plan. A treatment plan within the office, and then there’ll be a treatment plan for patients to take home as well. And the typical stuff, when we’re talking about going at home care would be obviously rest. So if you’re doing something that’s aggravated your low back, we got to stop it. Ice pack, that’s the easiest, cheapest, most convenient way to deal with some of the inflammation, because we’re taking any kind of medication and that’s going to affect liver, kidney, and other functions. And then possibly at the end, once some of that symptomatology is resolved and core stability work, which nobody wants to do. So I like to always give that as homework, but nobody loves that part. And that really is the biggest bang for your buck to strengthen up your low back, is to have a really strong core.
Mark: And as far as the treatment with the laser, how does that fit into your treatment plan?
Dr Harold: Well, typically, when we’re assessing that low back, if there’s some structure that’s underlying that’s causing it, that could be facets or impinged or sacroiliac joint is dysfunctional, then we’ll do some structural work and we can do that with an adjustment, some manual adjustments which people are maybe afraid of or are aware of. And I use some mechanical tools to adjust as well, that’s very low force. And then I incorporate the laser therapy with that. And that’s, again, to reduce the inflammation around that joint, speed up the healing that’s happening, and also some pain management. And if the patient has ongoing muscle spasms and other things that I can’t deal with within my timeframe then a massage therapy appointment would be beneficial for them as well.
Mark: Where does the laser fit into your treatment procedures?
Dr Harold: Laser’s going to be part of my treatment protocol. After we’ve got the diagnosis, we’re going to look at the structure. So structural component, that could be facets or pelvis sacroiliac joint that’s dysfunctional, so I want to correct that structure, and I’ll do that either with manual manipulation, which some people are aware of, and then also use some instrument adjusting, and that’s mechanical instruments that are very, very low impact, very gentle to adjust and we’ll shift the joint over to take pressure off the nerve if that’s the underlying cause, and then create some symptom relief and then we’re going to use the laser for my favourite things. That’s the anti-inflammatory effect and then also some pain management and an acceleration of healing into that tissue and that’ll be part of our treatment protocol. Soft tissue work, I do some into that area as well, but then if it’s outside of my scope or expertise, then we’re going to get them in with one of the massage therapists. Then they can spend an hour with them reducing all that muscle work, bio spasms.
Mark: And at home work, would that include, like you said, core stability work, but also stretching? Is that an important part of maintaining your back?
Dr Harold: Yeah, absolutely. Making sure that all these big muscle groups, not only the back or low back muscle groups, but the big ones in the lower limbs like hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, all these things that are pulling into the pelvis and can have an effect on to the low back. So for sure some really easy, gentle stretching, some nice yoga movements are a benefit. But usually that’s once that acute pain is gone, then we can start opening up those joints. And then that’s something that you want to continue onwards, depending on how bad the incident is. But yeah, we want to keep mobility in the low back for all patients.
Mark: Typical treatment protocol, what does that consist of?
Dr Harold: Yeah, we’ll probably see the patient in the office quite regularly if it’s an acute low back pain or a problem. We’ll see them a few times a week over the first two weeks and then reassess after that. And usually I would say that we’d get maybe a 20 to 25% change after those first visits, so that real acute pain is down and then things become a little bit more manageable.
Mark: So there, if you have a pain in your low back, get some lasering from Dr. Harold Meinzer at Evolution Chiropractic. You can book your appointment at (604) 881-2404, check out the website, vancouverchiroevolution.com, or, like I said, call and book an appointment. They’re located in Vancouver and North Langley, and Dr. Harold will look after you. Thanks a lot, Harold.
Dr Harold: All right. Thanks, Mark. Have a great day.