Dr. Brent Ungar is a chiropractor in Canton Ohio who also lectures internationally on the subject of cold laser therapy.
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Ungar on this subject and how cold laser therapy is impacting patient care in a positive way.
SQ: I’m here with Dr. Brent Ungar today, who is the owner of Belden Village Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Canton, Ohio. He’s been using some very unique types of therapies in his office for the purpose of helping his patients, and one of them happens to be cold laser therapy. It seems to be gaining wide popularity, so we wanted to talk to him about this today.
First of all, I’d like to thank you for coming onto the call today. I appreciate it, Dr. Ungar.
Dr. Ungar: Thank you very much for inviting me.
SQ: Why don’t we start off by just having you tell me a little bit about what cold laser therapy is in general and who it might be beneficial for?
Dr. Ungar: Cold laser therapy is a safe and effective type of treatment that uses different wavelengths of light. These wavelengths of light are used to help reduce pain, inflammation, and promote soft tissue healing. It is beneficial for many people, predominantly people who are suffering from pain in their muscles or joints, people who have an acute or chronic problem with their neck or low back, and for people who have arthritic knees, tendonitis, or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Cold laser therapy provides benefits to a variety of patients, if there is pain, spasms and inflammation we are able to help treat those individuals and achieve excellent response to their symptoms.
SQ: The lasers that we often think of are typically cosmetic, surgical or LASIK. How are the lasers that you use in your office different from these types of lasers?
Dr. Ungar: When you’re talking about cosmetic surgery or eye surgery, they’re using higher powered lasers that produce a great deal of heat. They require a lot of safety controls. Those lasers are commonly used for cutting, cauterizing or vaporizing tissues.
The lasers that we use for patient therapy are cold lasers, meaning that they provide limited heat or no heat at all. The cold lasers are used for a different purpose than the hot lasers. We use our cold lasers for effectively treating conditions that involve pain, spasms and inflammation in muscles, ligaments and bone.
SQ: Interesting. So basically, cold laser therapy is safer because the there is no heat produced, as with the surgical lasers. Am I correct on that?
Dr. Ungar: Correct. Cold laser therapy is extremely safe. There are different types of cold laser equipment. Some will have a higher chance of increasing heat, but I use one of the safest cold laser therapies on the market today.
The cold laser that I use is able to penetrate the tissues; it is called a super pulsed laser. With this type of laser, I can treat a wide variety of common conditions. This even includes treatment for those individuals that have had metal implants, such as joint replacement, metal rods and even pacemakers. Super pulse cold laser therapy doesn’t heat the area up and therefore it is safe.
SQ: Wow. That sounds like a pretty powerful yet very safe type of laser. Can you talk a little bit more about how the type of laser that you’re using in your practice actually helps heal injuries or helps to deal with patients who have pain that come into your office?
Dr. Ungar: Yes, it is very safe, the only precaution we may need to take is to have the patient wear protective goggles. Our laser therapy utilizes light that goes through the skin and into the tissues of the muscle.
The cold laser helps stimulate the injured cell or the weak cell to get more energy. Basically, what we are doing is “energizing” the cells so they can start to heal themselves. This happens when the cell’s ability to produce greater energy increases and it helps stimulate the body’s own healing ability. If we excite the cells that are sick or injured, our body’s own natural way of healing is stimulated and the patient will start to heal from inside of the cell out. Again, it is very safe and very effective for many injuries to the muscles and joints.
We have found that cold laser therapy also helps increase the blood oxygen level within the body so those cells have more oxygen, which is needed to help heal the cell.
It also helps stimulate the body’s own natural pain relievers, and we call those endorphins. These endorphins act like a pain reliever, as if you took a pain pill.
With all of these benefits, we have found that the super pulsed laser speeds the recovery time and really benefits the patients. The treatment itself is painless and can be used for a wide variety of conditions.
SQ: So it sounds like the types of cold lasers that are being used in your office really have the ability to help a wide variety of problems. For example, maybe a person comes in with knee pain, or maybe a person comes in with shoulder pain, they could both benefit. Am I right on that? You can use the cold lasers with various issues?
Dr. Ungar: Yes. That is why cold laser therapy is so unique. We can treat a wide variety of patient conditions. We can use it to treat acute injuries, like a sprain or strain of the ankle. In that case, we’ll use it to reduce pain and swelling.
On the other hand, we can use it to treat chronic conditions, like osteoarthritis. We use it to help control the pain and get deep into the tissues and joint. It will assist in decreasing the inflammation in that joint.
As you can see, the best part about cold laser therapy is the fact that it can be used for such a wide range of conditions. I use it for neck issues, back problems and even for smaller areas like the wrist for carpal tunnel syndrome.
There’s so much research out there that shows how effective it is, and the clinical outcomes are great. There are over 6000 studies currently available on cold laser therapy.
SQ: This has been a very interesting talk. To wrap this up, what would be your thoughts on how a person might know if laser therapy is right for them?
Dr. Ungar: I think the biggest thing is finding a physician in your area that is well trained on cold laser therapy. The physician can take a good history and do a thorough examination. This will give good insight for that physician to know whether or not you’re a candidate for laser therapy? I think the patient should ask about what training the physician has had in laser therapy.
Certainly, if you have had an injury or have been dealing with a chronic pain or condition that isn’t responding to your current treatment you should find a well-trained physician in your area and see if you are a candidate for laser therapy.
SQ: Dr. Ungar, I just want to tell you thank you very much for being here today. We’ve learned a great deal about cold laser therapy. This is something that I think a lot of people would be interested in learning more about. So again, thank you very much for your time today.
Dr. Ungar: It was my pleasure, and thank you very much for asking me to participate in this interview.