Low-level laser therapy is helping chiropractors expand their scope of practice to attend to peripheral neuropathy, faster healing of knee and other injuries, as well as fat-loss treatments and chronic pain.
The 2020 Chiropractic Economics Salary & Expense Survey, which will be released at the end of May, reports a rise in low-level laser use by chiropractors, from 32% in 2019 to 35% in 2020.
Laser light therapy for pain can speed-up tissue repair and increase blood flow to targeted areas. A 2017 meta-analysis review article in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine compared findings for the effectiveness of LLLT in treating musculoskeletal pain across 18 studies, which accounted for 1,462 patients. After combining the results from all the studies, the researchers concluded that “LLLT is an effective treatment modality to reduce pain in adult patients with musculoskeletal disorders.”
DCs are using lasers to help their patients ease a variety of musculoskeletal issues, and a few of the most common include chronic neck and shoulder pain, says Charlie Shanks, vice president of Erchonia Corporation. There has been some confusion around the definition of low-level laser healing therapy, and Shanks says that FDA market clearance has suffered from misperception as well. In order for a laser to be granted FDA market clearance, it has to meet certain success criteria, says Shanks. While most people believe that this criteria is all about safety, it’s not. The laser manufacturer has to prove efficacy, too.
“This is why they are so stringent on what they can say,” says Shanks, referring to the claims that the FDA says DCs can make when it comes to marketing laser therapy. If research has not proven that a particular laser can treat a specific condition, it cannot be marketed in that way.
The 2020 Chiropractic Economics Salary & Expense Survey is the go-to source for annual salary data and trending information in the chiropractic industry.
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