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Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert, producer of the Evolution Wellness video series with Doctor Harold Meinzer of Langley, Vancouver and Aldergrove. And of course today we’re talking about shoulder injuries. Do you see a lot of shoulder injuries in the clinics?
Harold: Yeah, shoulder injuries are really common in the clinic and they’re notoriously a really difficult joint or also conditions to treat. The shoulder joint has a lot of moving parts, a lot of muscle and we have so much mobility with it, but then it can leave us vulnerable to have all sorts of injuries. So within the clinic I like to, you know, always do an assessment, a history exam, an assessment on the joint, what’s working, what’s not working, what’s dysfunctional. And then usually trying to employ some sort of soft tissue treatment. But we’re here to talk a little bit more in depth about laser and how the laser can help these types of conditions.
Mark: So having had numerous different shoulder injuries myself, how does the laser actually help with the healing inside the joint?
Harold: Well, usually what my protocol entails is that when we start treating a shoulder, and if we are having a shoulder injury, whether it’s the AC joint or even some soft tissue problems within the upper trapezius muscle or other rotator cuff muscles, is that I usually always start where the nerve roots exit. So the nerve roots are what’s controlling that entire shoulder and arm. So usually I like to start with the soft tissue and over top of those nerve roots and then proceed along that pathway of the nerve in and around that shoulder joint. And so the laser is going to help in a couple of key ways. We’re going to use it and as it’s being applied to the shoulder joint, it’s going to help with reduction in shoulder pain. So pain by, with every patient that’s a thing that you want to get away from as soon as possible.
And so the laser is going to reduce pain by releasing endorphins and enkephalins in that area. And those are sort of pain blocking molecules that we naturally produce. So it’s not anything new into the joint, we’re just stimulating the body in that way. And then as that laser is working, we’re increasing blood flow to that area. We need blood flow for healing. We want all those material, the building materials for repair and healing if the joint’s injured, but we also want to pull out and get rid of inflammation. And so that’s the lymphatics. So we want to open up the lymphatic channels and we increase the blood flow to that area. And those two things work as a really nice and strong anti inflammatory. Again, natural with no side effects to that area. So I think those are two key things and we’ll talk about another in a second. But if you’ve got a question, but it’s really important to to reduce the inflammation. Once inflammation is reduced, then range of motion will start to increase. And obviously we want that pain level to diminish right away.
Mark: So what’s a typical treatment series for a shoulder problem?
Harold: Typically for most conditions, I like to give the modality at least six treatments. So I could do a series of six treatments and we do them pretty sequential. So I don’t want a lot of time between them. And we do it every other day. And so that really keeps energy into that system. So the laser itself is stimulatory, so we can stimulate the body and that can run. In the literature they say for up to 24 hours. Everybody’s a little different. So some people have changed pretty quick within an hour or two or immediately. And some people have it after 10 or 12 hours, they’ll have bigger changes. So, but we want to keep those treatments close together. So I say the minimum, we want to give the therapy a chance of six treatments, and then after the six we’ll be re-evaluating and see, okay, where are we at? Are we at 50% improvement? 70? 20? Do we need to add or change anything within our protocols?
Mark: And is it mostly the, when a patient’s experiencing this, is it mostly first there’s a reduction in pain and then the range of movement comes back? Is that, typically …
Harold: Yeah, a lot of times those will happen the quickest. So the inflammation diminishes and they kind of self fulfill as well. So the range of motion increases, there’s less inflammation. Because there’s less inflammation, there’ll be less pain as well. And then when you add the endorphins and enkephalins in there, that even can drop it further. And the third thing that we haven’t touched on too is that as that laser goes into the tissue, it really is a stimulatory effect into the cell. So it gives that cell more energy so that we can have greater turnover within the cell for that healing. So then we can have longstanding changes versus just sort of symptomatic changes. Because we want repair of that tissue.
Mark: So are you seeing a lot of, like, this seems very obvious, any sports that use shoulders a lot? Like paddling or volleyball or football.
Harold: Yeah, like all those sports. And then you think of people, the weekend warriors that sit at their desk all day and don’t do much and then they go play softball on the weekend, you know, swinging motions, you know, and then traumatic injury, right? Sliding into the base or falling out of the tree or whatever that you’re doing and trying to clean your gutters. And you fall and the crazy thing is that you’ll, I’ll even see something like sleep injuries when we think that we should be at rest and should have no injuries and someone sleeps on their shoulder funny and kind of kinks themselves, get up after eight hours of sleep and you just can’t move your shoulder. So we get the gamut of sports to trauma to a sleep injury.
Mark: And I imagine that because it’s effective, there’s a lot of pro sports teams, baseball, football, basketball that are using this?
Harold: Absolutely. All the pro sports teams are using it. And there’s a probably a couple of videos you can find. Toronto Blue Jays or one of the users of it as well as you know, Seattle Seahawks and other elite athletes. But it works for us mortals as well. The elite athletes obviously are great. They’re in top physical form, but they want the fastest therapy to get them back on the field. And this therapy is fast. It’s not invasive, it’s all natural. It doesn’t affect any kind of drug testing or anything like that. So it can get them back on that field as fast as possible. We really don’t have any other modality that can stimulate the body and the body’s natural healing mechanism to speed up what it would do other than laser. Nothing else will do that. No ultrasound or TENS or any other unit will do that. So it’s really unique in that it really stimulates right at the cellular level turnover, which is I think one of the coolest things.
Mark: And protocol for how soon after injury this can be applied?
Harold: Yeah. So immediately after, in the acute stage, that’s where we want to get at. The sooner the better because then we can stimulate that blood flow and then the repair system. So your body doesn’t have as big of a chance to inflame. It’s going to inflame, but then we can modulate it. So the faster you can get repair into that joint, the more organized it’ll be and the better that tissue will heal and the better outcomes you’ll have.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for treatment for your shoulder problems in Vancouver, North Langley or Aldergrove, you can give Doctor Harold a call to book. They’re busy. You have to book ahead. Give him a call at (604) 881-2404 to find out where he is this week and book an appointment. Thanks a lot, Doctor.
Harold: Yep, thanks. Look forward to seeing all these shoulder injuries this week. Thanks.