Take care of yourself over your career while ‘working smart’ with laser treatment for healing aches, pains and post-surgery
I grew up on a dairy farm in rural Minnesota and was driving tractors and milking cows at the age of nine. For the city slickers, realize that you must milk a cow twice a day, seven days a week. My father didn’t miss a milking in 17 years, which meant we never went on vacation. Dad had a bad back and lived on aspirin for pain management. Upon a recommendation, he went to a chiropractor named Alan Fuhr who pioneered the Activator technique.
Like most in the chiropractic community, it was a personal experience that influenced my career path. I developed asthma as a child, and back in the ‘70s MDs thought it was appropriate to prescribe prednisone in high doses of 80-100 mg a day for months. Prednisone is an anti-inflammatory steroid which also has anabolic influences that caused a growth spurt, and I grew from 4’8’’ to 5’8” when I was around age 12. Frustrated with the medical approach, I went to Fuhr, which helped and planted the seeds for my future career.
A life-changing meeting
I was the youngest in my class when I graduated from Northwestern Chiropractic College in 1987. I practiced for about five years and then I met someone who changed my life, and his name is Ted Carrick, DC, PhD, who is the godfather of neurology in our field. I passed my diplomate in 1995 and I’m one of seven board-certified chiropractic neurologists in Arizona.
Patients often say, “You don’t know what it’s like to be me,” and my response is “Yes, I do.” In 2001 I was side impacted at 40 mph and in 2005 rear-ended at 70 mph in auto accidents. I injured my left elbow in 2005 and an X-ray evaluation showed I had a bone spur that had avulsed off the ulna. The recommended surgery didn’t have good statistical outcomes. I went to a personal injury seminar by Dan Murphy, DC, DABCO, and by chance, a laser vendor was at the seminar. I purchased a laser for daily applications and in three weeks was 90% better.
Life events can come back to haunt us. If you have a degenerative condition in your musculoskeletal system, it may not always be symptomatic, but degeneration will progress. I injured my left hip while training for the Pat Tillman race in March 2018. It would have been my 13th year in a row. The race has over 30,000 participants and each corral has a thousand people. The race is 4.2 miles, and you must have a qualifying time to be in those first couple of corrals, which I always did. I injured myself a month before the race and referred myself for X-rays and MRIs that showed severe arthritis in my left hip and mild in my right hip.
In August 2018 I had a left hip replacement, but with the luxury of laser treatment for healing at my house I was able to get back to work in four weeks, whereas the normal recovery is 8-10 weeks. Unfortunately, my leg lengths were off and I hurt myself hiking in January 2021. I referred myself for imaging and now my right hip had gone from mild to severe arthritis in two years and I required a right hip replacement.
Laser treatment for healing: points to consider when renting a laser to patients
Prequalify the patient like you would a potential renter of a real estate property. My policy is to collect payment up front. They are billed for two sessions a day, but I highly encourage them to do four sessions a day as I find the dose frequency juggernauts the healing.
Educate your patients and MDs about the technology of laser treatment for healing. Laser research has shown the optical window of healing is in the 600-900 nanometers wavelength. The most effective wavelengths in research are 635 and 810-830 nm. Surgeons are often concerned about using a laser for post-surgery joint prosthesis. You should never be heating up tissue that has a prosthesis. More importantly, when it comes to treating concussions, you should never use class 3b or 4 lasers — 635 nm is the preferred wavelength.
Most practitioners purchase laser treatment for healing equipment for their practice for use in the office, but you can offer patients the opportunity to receive treatment in the safety and comfort of their own home, especially after the mindset of the COVID quarantine last year. The rental program also saves patients time by not requiring commuting to a doctor’s office for treatment.
Laser rental protocol and results
My protocol for a laser rental is a seven-day plan. With laser treatment for healing, some patients will notice differences in the first day, but the true juggernaut of healing and symptom reduction occurs in days three or four.
Henry Cejudo has been a patient since the 2008 Olympics, when he won the gold medal in wrestling. He started his career in the UFC in 2012, and went on to win titles at the 125 and 135 weight classes. Only three other combat athletes hold the distinction of two different weight classes, and they are Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Conor McGregor.
Henry calls himself Triple C because he has the two title classes as well as an Olympic gold medal. Henry severely sprained his left ankle the Tuesday prior to his Saturday, June 8, 2019, fight against Marlon Moraes in Chicago. I routinely travel with and treat him before his fights. I met one of his trainers at my office that Tuesday night at midnight to send my laser the next morning to perform multiple daily sessions prior to me getting there Friday. Cejudo has said several times on social media that he likely would have bowed out of the fight if he didn’t have the laser therapy. Winning that night was worth $500,000.
I had all three lasers I own rented out the four weeks I was off work. I charge $700 for the seven-day treatment plan, so our practice generated $8,400 while the office was closed.
I have a disability (Own Occupation) policy; it’s a policy you can’t get anymore. Read the fine print on your policy when shopping for coverage. If you can hold a pencil in your mouth, you are employable, and no disability benefit is given. After 26.5 years of policy ownership (318 months) at a premium of $231 a month, $73,430 has been paid in premiums. I’ve never filed a claim. I would get $5,500 a month if I did file a claim after a 90-day wait period.
How many lasers can you buy with $73,430?
I had one sick day in the first 31 years of practice. My dad taught me to work hard. I’ve learned to work smart over the years. I hope none of you suffer the injuries I have over the years. Your biggest regret will be waiting and not incorporating laser treatment for healing, a passive form of income, into your practice and benefiting the world with a non-drug approach for pain management and healing.
MARK BURDORF, DC, DACNB, graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1987 and writes for Erchonia. He has diplomate status with the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and has been a member in good standing with the ACA council of neurology since 1995. He is one of only seven board-certified chiropractic neurologists in Arizona. His practice, established in 1991, has an emphasis in migraine, vertigo, movement disorders and pain-related conditions, and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.