Tag Archives: arthritis

Cold Laser or Ultrasound?

I have written many articles on this blog about the wonders of cold laser, or low level laser, therapy. Recently, an equine client of mine pulled a muscle on an upper level cross country outing, and therapeutic ultrasound was added to the arsenal of healing technology used on him. His treatment also included cold laser therapy, body balancing, rest, ice, and arnica. He has made a complete recovery (in about 10 days) and is fit and ready to compete again.

Therapeutic ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves that provides heat that vibrates soft tissues deep within the traumatized area. The energy from these sound waves can penetrate as far as five centimeters, though the intensity of the waves (and thus effectiveness) decreases the further it penetrates. One chief benefit is that these waves cause microscopic air bubbles that seem to stimulate the parts of the cell membranes important in healing inflammation, thus helping alleviate both sore muscles and joint pain.

Ultrasound was first used in the 1940’s and is the longest standing form of electrotherapy to still be in regular use. It is still used extensively in physical therapy (physiotherapy, sports therapy, chiropractic and osteopathic) clinics to treat patients with soft tissue injuries.

It is most commonly used to treat superficial localised conditions such as muscle strains, tendon injuries,and bursitis. The treatment is applied via a treatment head using a gel to aid smooth movement and adherence to the skin. Ultrasound tends to be most effective on tissues with a higher collagen density (such as ligaments and tendons), than muscles and cartilage.

Cold laser therapy was first developed in 1967, but has only recently been used extensively in injury and pain management clinics. It is used to treat a range of conditions, for example tendon injuries, neuropathic pain ,and joint pain such as osteoarthritis.

Laser and LED beams stimulate the cells that repair tissues, reduce inflammation and pain. These effects are photochemical, not thermal.

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Natural Approaches to Arthritis

Lameness is a common symptom of arthritis in older animals. Many veterinarians prescribe corticosteroids, or other potentially toxic medications, but there are more natural and safe options. Conventional therapies treat pain and inflammation, but rarely help the stiff and swollen joint to heal .

Each animal is an individual and a dedicated owner may have to try several treatment options before the magic cocktail is found.  The goal is not just to suppress symptoms, but to actually heal the body in a holistic way.

I have discussed acupuncture, cold laser therapy, massage,Transfer Factor (wonderful for the inflammation of arthritis) and other homeopathic and herbal remedies on this blog. Many natural remedies can relieve pain and supply nutrients to help cartilage heal.

Arthritis results from erosion of the cartilage lining of the joints. Since there are no nerves in this cartilage, a great amount of damage can occur before the surrounding joint tissues become inflamed and painful. So once again, prevention is the key. The earlier diagnosis is made, the greater the chance for healing.

Glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, enzymes, fatty acids, can all help heal cartilage.

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Is Laser Therapy Right for Me or My Animal?

Cold Laser Therapy, which is also known as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), is used to improve tissue repair, reduce inflammation and pain.

The treatment has been proven to help relieve pain in areas like the neck and also in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Cold laser has many other uses, including helping wounds heal and treating muscle, tendon, bone or nerve damage.

Because the light beam triggers the repair of damaged cells in its path, without the need for the therapist to identify the exact problem, it can lead to a reduction or resolution of hundreds of different illnesses or conditions.

In horses, laser therapy has proven useful and effective in treating hoof abscesses, bone chips, navicular problems, and laminitis.

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Should You, Or Your Animal, Get Laser Therapy?

Low-Level Laser (also known as Cold Laser) Therapy uses light to enhance the body’s natural healing processes. The light source is placed on the skin, allowing the light energy (photons) to penetrate tissue where it interacts to increase circulation and help restore normal cellular function. LLLT does not break the skin, as do surgical lasers.

The FDA approved LLLT (also known as cold laser) as an effective method for pain relief. One FDA study showed that LLLT caused tissues (muscle, skin, nerve) to heal 66 percent faster!

For inflammation, laser therapy causes the smaller arteries and lymph vessels of the body to increase in size, which is called vasodilation. Vasodilation allows inflammation, swelling, and edema to be cleared away from injury sites more effectively. Vasodilation in lymph nodes promotes lymphatic drainage, which also aids in the healing process.

The laser  is also used to help heal wounds and to treat many types of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders such as  sprains/strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia.

I have a client who had terrible pain in her heels and walked around on her tiptoes. I did 5-10 cold laser sessions on her feet and she has been pain free (and hiking several times a week) for about 18 months. In her case, it took several sessions for the pain to begin to diminish. The benefits of cold laser therapy appear to be cumulative – in some cases, relief can begin immediately, but it may take several treatments for the results to become evident. The total number of treatments needed depends on the condition being treated, the severity of the condition, and each patient’s individual response. In general, 4-12 treatments are usually necessary to begin the healing process of tissue.

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Retraining Tight Muscles

There is an extraordinary degree of organization in the muscular system in order for movement to occur. Many different parts need to work together.

When there is muscle tension,  movement patterns become disrupted, and some muscles will have to work too hard or remain too lax. Movement will then become more strenuous and less efficient. This dysfunctional movement can become a bad habit if it is not quickly corrected. It starts to feel familiar, even if it is not right. This can lead to hardened muscles, tendon strain, and degeneration of cartilage.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to prevent muscle dysfunction (and to retrain muscles) is through massage. You and your equine partner can be returned to supple, balanced, free movement. Comfort and effortless movement can be restored with body work.

If your horse is suffering from any of the following, a massage session may be in order:

Sore back
Hollow back
Difficulty picking up a lead
Difficulty bending in one or both directions
Paddling with front legs
Little or no swinging motion in hips and barrel
Difficulty stepping under
Lack of impulsion
Pain and stiffness associated with arthritis or injury
General lack of coordination or balance
General resistance or grouchiness

Releasing tight muscles can eliminate all of these problems.

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Say Good Bye to Illness

Lately I have been reading about a controversial treatment for many illnesses developed by Dr. Devi Nambudripad. Her technique is called NAET: a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.

Until recently, we looked at disease as sets of symptoms caused by poor function or non-function of specific organs or body parts. Medical professionals everywhere are taught to look for and to treat symptoms, rather than to look further to find their causes.

Certain patterns that have been observed by medical practitioners using Dr. Nambudripad’s techniques are:

Patients suffering from arthritis show allergies to table salt, corn, beans, pepper, nutmeg, and other spices.

People with depression should be checked for allergies to B vitamins, sugar, and trace minerals.

A woman with hypertension was cured when it was traced back to an allergy to nylon.

Eczema disappeared when the patient was treated for an allergy to plastic.

I am going to keep reading and will post here when I find important information. Let me know if you have any experience with NAET!

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Pain Reduction With a Powerful Beam of Light

What if you could easily trigger the body’s natural painkiller: endorphins? This can now be done with cold, or soft, lasers.

The beams are thought to work in the same way as acupuncture needles by stimulating the release of endorphins. They are pumped out by the brain during times of pain and stress.

Researchers at Dundee University’s Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (in the UK) recruited 49 patients with osteoarthritis and split them into two groups.The study showed a large reduction of pain (greater than when using medication) in patients treated with cold laser therapy. No reduction of pain was experienced by patients in a placebo group.

Six months later, pain scores had dropped even further, enough to make a huge difference to their daily lives. In a report on their findings the researchers conclude: “Short-term application of low-level laser therapy, in association with exercise, is effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life.”

Other studies have found lasers may help to promote tissue repair in damaged knees. And low energy lasers have also been found to help in the treatment of depression. A study last year at the University of Sydney found aiming laser beams at the back and neck boosted mood in patients for up to three months at a time.

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How Does the Cold Laser Target Damaged Cells?

Cold laser therapy is  non-invasive, but how does it work? There is no medication, no recovery time, no side effects, and the treatment is painless.

The treatment stimulates the cytochrome oxidase enzyme in the cells’ mitochondria. This is actually one of the key discoveries in the whole science of laser therapy. Specifically, injured cells are targeted because damaged cells are more readily accepting of photons of light, whereas healthy cells don’t need this extra energy.

Laser treatments have been shown to stimulate increased levels of beta-endorphins, which are neuropeptides that function as natural analgesics.

Cold laser therapy has also been shown to help reduce inflammation after an acute injury by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, such as prostaglandin.  Laser light can also reduce the body levels of interleukin, which is a pro-inflammatory component, connected to diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis.

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Natural Cures Worth Trying

Great information!! Cinnamon and Honey…! Drug companies won’t like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:
It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon CURES most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus.Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists.

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain — and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder….who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it’s delicious too!

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Keep Your Body and Your Horse Healthy!

A body free of tension and stress can function at an optimum level. Muscles can move and blood can circulate freely. As a result, oxygen and nutrients are carried to all cells and toxins are eliminated. Freeing a body from tension allows the innate healing mechanisms of the immune system to function. Conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis, backache, neck pain, shoulder pain, digestive disorders, nervousness, headaches, sciatica and more,  all benefit from stress and trigger point therapy.

Stress point therapy can be used as a warm up to prevent injuries. After a work out, body work relieves stiffness, pain, prevents tying up, and cramps. Sports massage at a competition is that ounce of prevention that may mean the difference between staying strong and preventing slight muscle tension from turning into a problem and a major injury.

Using stress point and trigger point therapy is a good way to take charge of your health and that of your animals. It is a chance to dissolve tension and tightness before it develops into something serious. My approach is to use the natural healing systems of massage to maintain health, and avoid, as much as possible, drugs with side effects and medical treatments.

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