Shoulder pain

An Alternative Healing for Shoulder Injuries

By Kelly Harrison, DC

If you thought you had no choice but to live with acute or chronic shoulder pain, Class IV laser therapy may be what you’ve been missing.

Last year, while cooling down after a jog, I had no idea that my life was about to change. While walking, I was struck from behind by a cyclist in what would surely have been a five-minute major and a lengthy suspension in any hockey league. My shoulder was dislocated, I had sharp shooting pains into my arm, and I knew that I would be facing an uncertain time until I could return to practising chiropractic. After a ride in an ambulance and x-rays, I learned that the accident had fractured both my arm and scapula (shoulder blade). The following week, an MRI revealed two major tears and two minor tears in the rotator cuff and corresponding muscles. This caused me further stress as to my future because while I had dislocated my shoulder before, it was never to this extreme, and I was unsure what my career as a chiropractor would look like after the injury had healed.

I was scheduled to see a surgeon, who explained that the severity of the damage meant I would not be able to practise for some time. The earliest surgery available would be five months away. Following the long-awaited surgery, I was told that my career indeed was in jeopardy and recovery was at least a further seven to ten months. While I could change my practice technique to continue my career, it was a hard thing to accept after practising a certain way and seeing results with patients over many years. Like most people, I was resistant to accepting that change. I began to call and write to many different types of practitioners so that I could find some form of therapy that may help in my case.

This is when I was introduced to Class IV medical laser therapy treatment and began to look into the case studies behind the theories. Its healing abilities have not only aided my recovery but also given me back my lifestyle and career. Class IV medical laser therapy can also aid with shoulder impingement, rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, joint pain, and arthritic pains.

How does medical laser therapy aid in recovery from both acute and chronic conditions? Class IV laser therapy offers expedited pain relief through a process known as photobiostimulation. Prompted by a dose of deep penetrating photonic energy, your body produces increased amounts of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the substance responsible for cellular energy production. The increased levels of ATP lead to improved circulation, reduced inflammation, and ultimately, a rate of healing that is three to five times faster than normal.

As laser light energy is highly absorbed by skin and subcutaneous tissue, penetration is key for a successful therapeutic outcome. Longer wavelengths and higher power output result in deeper penetration and higher dosage to the tissue. More powerful therapeutic laser energy dosage levels produce improved clinical outcomes, as illustrated in many cases and interventional studies. Low-level laser therapy (Classes I–III) does not provide optimal clinical outcomes in most disease and injury conditions, because it cannot produce the deep-tissue laser energy dosage necessary without using excessively long treatment times.

Class IV lasers have been shown to provide both the wavelength and output power levels necessary to trigger therapeutic cellular metabolic changes. Class IV deep-tissue therapy laser treatment using appropriate scientific therapy protocols provides demonstrated clinical therapeutic benefits to patients in a real-world environment for a wide variety of both acute and chronic conditions, regardless of age or gender. This conclusion is supported by comprehensive published medical studies from various institutions, and the main reason why I chose this form of treatment to aid in recovery.

Both acute and chronic shoulder injuries respond well to deep penetrating laser therapy. Unlike lower level laser therapy, which provides no feeling or sensation, the Class IV laser is a warm sensation as it works to provide laser light energy deep into the body to reach damaged cells and tissues. Results are typically faster than many other modalities and patients often report signs of improvement after just a few treatments. Inflammation and swelling are quickly reduced to allow a greater range of motion in the affected areas. This helps to regain activity and mobility while reducing scar tissue and adhesions which can slow recovery and healing. Sick and injured tissues are restored to optimal strength and vitality, providing greater functionality and preventing re-injury.

After my treatment with the Class IV medical laser therapy, I noticed pain reduction and increased range of motion within a few weeks. I could now use my left shoulder to do simple things such as reach up to grab a glass out of the cupboard and sleep on my left side, which were everyday activities that I could not do following my injury. I was able to use stronger resistance tubing for strengthening and finally felt that I would truly recover from this injury. I am now able to swing a golf club, perform everyday activities, and treat patients in my office pain free!

Sometimes we are told that nothing can help with our acute or chronic pain, but I highly recommend exploring every option you can. Do not give up! Had I chosen not to explore all options and do anything I could to heal and get my life back on track, I may have lost a career along with many other passions and activities that I love to do. Laser therapy can help with a wide variety of other conditions, but from my own experience I can say that I am thankful it could heal my shoulder through a very trying and painful time in my life.

Many people do suffer from chronic pains and old injuries that keep them from activities they used to love. If you are experiencing or suffering from these aches and pains then visit a clinic with laser therapy to see if they can help. It may just change your life too.

Kelly Harrison, DC, enjoys educating his patients on how to achieve their health goals and live a wellness lifestyle. He recently joined Aberdeen Wellness Clinic in Vernon, practising chiropractic and laser therapy. Dr. Harrison’s purpose is to share his knowledge on how to live a longer, healthier life with preventative health choices. He is active in the community and cares for families, elite and recreational athletes, sports teams, as well as seniors. Visit for details.

*Reprint from our Spring 2015 Issue

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