Chronic Pain

cold laser therapy in denver

Cold Laser Treatment

We are still far away from hover boards, and time machines, but our advances in laser therapy to treat pain and injuries has come a long way. Our chiropractic clinic in Denver has the latest advancement in laser therapy. We utilize the MR4 Super Pulsed Laser.

This one piece of equipment utilizes a combination of 5 different therapies. It includes in one treatment, 1. A super pulsed laser, 2. Pulsed broad band infrared, 3. Pulsed red light, 4. Static Magnetic field, and 5. Electric stimulation. This is a very powerful combination, that is used to treat over 300 different conditions.

One of the coolest advances with cold laser equipment, is that it has TARGET technology. Which stands for Treatment Area Recognition and Guidance Enchanced Technology. We use the device to scan an area, and it recognizes areas of increased impedence. This is the area we treat. We pull the trigger, and therapy starts, once the impedence improves, the device stops therapy.

One of the big advantages of this type of cold laser therapy is how deep the laser can penetrate. The laser is able to reach 5 inches of tissue depth. This is amazing, and unique in that other modalities cannot achieve this reach.

Clinical effects of the 5 therapies include:

1. activation of RNA and DNA synthesis
2. increased cell metabolism in the form of ATP
3. improvement of microcirculation
4. reinforcement of collagen synthesis and reduced fibrous tissue formation
5. anti-inflammatory response
6. edema reduction
7. pain reduction
8. stimulation of T-cell production
9. increased levels of prostaglandin synthesis
10. gentle heating of surface tissue layer
11. acts upon receptors in the skin and reduces pain
12. microcirculation activation
13. stimulates epithelial cell growth and regeneration
14. reinforces laser penetration into target tissues
15. localized pain relief
16. reduction in swelling

Laser therapy can be a perfect adjunct to the visit to the chiropractor. I schedule 15-20 minute appointments that include any combination of services that we provide to ensure the most impact.

Laser therapy has over 4,000 clinical trials world wide to document the effects. It is used in over 3,000 hospitals, and used in over 10,000 private practices. It can be used on just about any part of the body, and it has relatively few contraindications.

Olympic athletes, the special forces, US major league soccer team, NBA & NFL players, National soccer team, and chronic pain sufferers all utilize the MR4 Super Pulsed Laser.

The laser can treat a multitude of conditions such as

1. acute, sub-acute, and chronic pain
2. back pain
3. neck pain
4. carpal tunnel symptoms
5. arthritis pain
6. fibromyalgia
7. ligament sprains
8. tendonitis
9. tennis elbow
10. soft tissue injuries
11. muscle strain

This is just a partial list of conditions that the cold laser treats. It is used to treat over 300 different conditions. Cold laser treatments range from 1 time per week for 5 weeks to 2-3 times per week for 6-15 weeks. The frequency of visits is determined by the magnitude of the condition. Treatment by the laser usually lasts between 5-15 minutes.

In Health,

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC
Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211


back pain from shoe choice

First of all, I would like to say that if you are experiencing chronic pain, my heart goes out to you and the suffering that you experience. This post is meant to give you a different perspective on chronic pain and possibly new treatment options yet explored.

Most people that live with chronic pain have been to countless doctors with minimal results. Why is it that chronic pain is so difficult to treat? Mostly because the perspective that if a certain spot on your body is painful, then that is the spot that needs the treatment. Although it makes sense, being similar to a dysfunctional part on an automobile. Replace the part, and everything is fixed.

The problem is that the body’s systems are more interwined than simple parts. For acute injuries, where one part of the body is damaged, then yes, therapy to that part is essential. There are two schools of thought when it comes to assessing the body, and that is structural verses functional. Acute injuries often need the structural perspective, and chronic pains need the functional perspective.

The functional perspective takes into account all systems and how they work together. I have found that addressing parts of the body that seem asymptomatic are actually the root cause of pain. For example, a central nervous system reflex that is termed reflex inhibition, may account for many of the chronic pain syndromes. Reflex inhibition protects the body from injury by turning muscles off when others are activated. For instance, when you flex your bicep, the triceps needs to be turned off in order for the arm to bend, and this in summary, is reflex inhibition.

Another protective mechanism of the body is the ability of muscles to undergo spasm. Muscle spasms try to protect the joints by contracting the muscle and preventing movement. This system is not perfect and the spasm can be “on” chronically. So, chronic protective muscle spasms occur when the biomechanics are faulty. Furthermore, the chronic spasm inhibits its corresponding antagonist muscle (bicep/tricep) via reflexive inhibition, which triggers faulty function.

For example, if your shoe choice is suboptimal or have flat feet, there will be repetitive assault on the structures of the body. Chronic assault will show up as foot, knee, back, or neck pain. You take approximately 10,000 steps everyday, and if you are wearing shoes that do not firmly support the heal you run the risk of developing chronic protective muscle spasms. So, when the spasm is left on due to repetitive stress from faulty biomechanics reflex inhibition kicks in and keeps muscles turned off, which become weak and dysfunctional.

So, we have muscles that are chronically turned on and chronically turned off. This leads to tight and weak muscles and compensation patterns develop and pain appears in parts of the body where energy is “leaked”. This leads to postural abnormalities and a cycle of dysfunction begins and is possible that it will not end unless appropriately treated. If that is not enough, the dysfunctional cycle also creates an inflammatory soup that bathes your body, which if not treated can lead to systemic pain.

I have found through learning from other doctors, literature research, and experience that specific treatments can lift chronic pain syndromes.

Such treatments are always specific, but in general the following therapies will help; and include,

1. Restore foot biomechanics through orthotics, appropriate shoe choice, extremity manipulation
2. Releasing chronic protective muscle spasms via massage, ischemic compression, mechanical massage, muscle energy techniques
3. Spinal manipulation to restore function of the spine and to trigger co-activation of mechanoreceptors for nociceptive inhibition
4. Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy, such as graston or gua sha to the chronic “on” muscles
5. Exercise that addresses the weak and imbalanced muscles
6. Supplements to reduce inflammation
7. Diet to reduce inflammation
8. Proper sleep
9. Proprioception training – wobble board/balance board series
10. Proprioceptive neuromusclar training – D1, D2, etc.

In summary, acute injuries need to have structures addressed and treated. Chronic pains need to have the function of the body restored.

To Your Health,

Dr. Artichoker

denver low back pain

Treating chronic low back pain can be difficult, to say the least. A recent article by the American Family Physician explored various nonpharmacologic treatment options for chronic low back pain. Among the options, spinal manipulation therapy is mentioned, “Spinal manipulation provides modest short- and long-term relief of back pain, improves psychological well-being, and increases functioning.”

American Family Physician
Volume 79 Number 12 • June 15, 2009
Chronic Low Back Pain: Evaluation and Management
What are the options for treating or managing chronic back pain?

Other options:
1. Acupuncture – short term relief, improve function
2. Exercise therapy focused on the core – small improvement in pain and function
3. Behavior and progressive relaxation therapy – as effective as exercise for short term pain relief
4. Biofeedback therapy – mixed results
5. Multidisciplinary rehab program with psychological, social, or vocational intervention – alleviate subjecive disability, reduce pain, return person to work five weeks earler, reduce sick time by 7 days, benefit persists up to five years
6. Acupuncture massage and pressure point massage – mildly helpful in reducing pain, benefits up to one year
7. Massage – most effective when combined with exercise, stretching, and education
8. Spinal Manipulation – modest short and long tern relief of back pain, improves psychological well-being, and increases function
9. Viniyoga – six weeks of yoga decreased need for meds
10. Other forms of yoga – mixed results
11. Back schools – conflicting evidence
12. Low-level laser therapy – conflicting evidence
13. lumbar supports – conflicting evidence
14. Prolotherapy – conflicting evidence
15. Short wave diathermy – conflicting evidence
16. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stiulation – conflicting evidence
17. Ultrasound – conflicting evidence

After reading through article, i’m reminded of the difficulties and limitations of researching back pain and evaluation strategies. Ever since words have been written, we still do not know the best strategies in treating chronic back pain. There are to many variables to isolate and test, and we may never know the best treatments, especially since patients respond differently to the same treatments. So, we have seen chiropractic patients respond wonderfully who had chronic low back pain.

This is the big question, and I believe our health care system needs to change its modus operandi. That is more focus on preventive care. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle should be rewarded. What if your health insurance paid for a gym membership, a personal trainer, a dietician, or a life coach.

I’m happy, that as a Denver chiropractor and overall health advocate, that I have been trained in a variety of treatment techniques for people of suffer with back pain.

To Your Health,

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211


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