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The two hot topics healthcare providers want to hear about

LTI has been podcasting for a full year! What I thought we'd do for our first-year recap is go over two of the most popular episodes that we've had.

Neuropathy and Laser Therapy

In sorting through thousands of downloads I found that neuropathy was the number one most downloaded episode that we've had. So, that tells me there's quite a bit of interest in neuropathy and how to utilize laser in your practice to treat neuropathy. We've done five individual podcasts for neuropathy:

So even though we've done these five episodes, and I think they've done quite well as far as providing some good information for practitioners out there, I want to remind you that there's a lot more that we have not talked about yet. As a matter of fact, just a quick look at the research shows 37 studies that have been done on carpal tunnel alone, which is not your typical peripheral neuropathy but it absolutely is a type. The next one, post-herpetic neuralgia, 17 studies on that one, all of them showed positive results. Optic nerve injury, seven studies on that one, all of those also positive results. And then for diabetic neuropathy, at least 22 studies that have been done. There's probably some more than I have not gotten my fingers on yet, but, there's at least that many that have been done. That's a lot of studies in one quick look!

Research on neuropathy

I think it's worth taking a look at why these studies are being done. Why are so many studies being done with laser and neuropathy? I think a lot of it actually traces back to the fact that there's no real good treatments for peripheral neuropathies. There are medications that can quiet the symptoms. You've got some physical therapy modalities that can be helpful. But laser has been shown to work so well that I think it's gaining more and more steam among researchers seeing that it can be very helpful to patients. It can be fairly easy to study lasers, pretty easy to blind and even double-blind studies for laser. Also, as patients are doing their research, they're seeing more about laser therapy for neuropathy and nerve injuries.

So, I'm hoping that as we continue to go forward, we're going to continue to see more studies being published on neuropathy, nerve injuries, and nerve pain, and how laser therapy can be used to help, because that's what we need. We need more and more studies to be done, to be able to strengthen the evidence that laser therapy can work well.

What doctors want to know about neuropathy

My next thought when I was looking at our download numbers for podcasts, is why was neuropathy such a popular topic? Yes, we did talk about it in five separate episodes. But were there so many downloads of neuropathy focused podcasts? I think one reason is that there's a lot of practitioners who know that laser can work, or they've heard from several sources that laser therapy can work for neuropathy treatments, and they want to know how to do it. You want to know how to use laser for nerve injuries and for neuropathy because as physical therapists or chiropractors, if you can be providing a non-invasive, non-drug approach for patients who are in pain, that's kind of our thing, right? And even if you're outside of the non-drug non-surgical approaches, if you are in neurology or oncology, you know that what you have to offer these neuropathy patients is really not satisfactory. And I have not met many docs who just love prescribing endless amounts of medications for pain.

You guys would much rather be able to do something about it, to bring pain levels down without having to manage the prescriptions and subsequent addictive behaviors. I mean, that is why we all got into healthcare, right? To help patients and to be able to increase the quality of their lives? Not to write them up with endless rehab or endless exercises at home or prescriptions they have to fill every month for as long as they live. We'd like to be able to help fix patients and fix their problems. And really that's the promise that laser has shown in the research, is to be able to reverse nerve damage and leave patients significantly better after completing the course of care.

And that is exactly why laser therapy is good. For neuropathy and nerve damage, it is not simply covering up the symptoms, but it actually helps with the pain while helping the body to perform repair on damaged nerve endings and nerve tracts. And that is very unique. There are very few modalities out there that are risk-free like laser therapy is and have been really proven and shown to work so well for rebuilding damaged nerves. But you have to be able to take that information and then put it into practice. You have to know how to use laser to help your patients, what the dosage is, what the treatment patterns look like, what settings on the laser to use, and what type of laser you should use. I think that's probably why we've seen so much interest in the podcast episodes that we do on neuropathy, because those are the questions you need to have answered and the answers are hard to find.

Laser Clinic Growth

The second big topic that was very popular on the podcast was building laser therapy practices. Now we've got just two episodes on this.

Practitioners are looking for good ways to implement laser therapy in their business approach and in their clinical practice so that it works for them from a business perspective as well as working for the patient to get the patient better. What I like to do is identify disconnects between research and practice. I think that's pretty important because when you look at the evidence behind laser therapy for things like neuropathy, you say, why isn't this being used everywhere? Where's the disconnect? Well, the disconnect is what we were just talking about. How do you go about actually making it work in your clinic? What does the treatment look like? What does the laser settings look like? What type of laser should I be using? How many treatments do they need and so forth?

I think also that honest practitioners have a really hard time taking a new modality like laser therapy and being able to strongly recommend it, because you haven't seen it work. You don't know exactly what you need to do for treatments, the number of treatments, or the settings. Or even what to tell the patient about what to think, what to look for over the next couple of days. Should they feel better after the first treatment? Are they going to get sore? Is it going to be the eighth treatment before they feel anything different? I think having those unanswered questions mean that when you go to sell a laser therapy package to a patient, your buy-in has to be just as high as the patients. The patient has to be able to trust that what you're telling them is true. And if you don't quite believe it, if you haven't seen it in action, or if you're unsure that your protocols are really up to snuff, you're going to go in to try and sell that with very little confidence. And if you don't have a lot of confidence, the patient's not going to have a lot of confidence, which means they're not going to buy in. On the other hand, you can't fake the confidence if you don't know, and until you have the experience and you've watched patients progress and do better, it's hard to have that confidence that you need to be able to tell patients, yes, this is going to work. This is how many treatments it's going to take. This is what I expect as far as your percentage of improvement.

That's difficult. That is a big reason that we have LTI, providing the protocols that we do and the education that we do, because that's how you overcome that initial lack of confidence- through education. If you know that you've been handed proven protocols that work in practice, you know you've got good laser equipment, and you have effective treatment plans, then you're going in there with a lot more confidence because you know that you're not presenting your plan, but a plan that's been verified and backed and supported by others' experience.

Develop your Laser Therapy Skills

If that's what you're looking for, if you need that confidence through education, if you need good protocols that you know are going to work, even if you need help finding good laser equipment, please contact us. You'll want to keep an eye on the website too, because it's going to continue to expand and become a bigger and better resource page for you. We will help you make laser therapy work for you, work for your patients, and work for your clinic.


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