Case Studies – Center for Cooperative Medicine

Interstitial Cystitis, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Chronic Fatigue – Case Study

“Karen” was a 56 year old female diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and fibromyalgia in 1996.  Her chief complaints were constant bladder pressure / discomfort with urgency and urinary frequency, often requiring a restroom visit every half hour or less.  To address these concerns, laser needle therapy was administered transcutaneously directly over the bladder.  Her pre-treatment pain score of  4 was reduced to 1 immediately following laser needle therapy.

She reported significant improvements in overall bladder comfort with less pain, pressure and spasming and increasing freedom from the need to urinate with regular laser needle treatment. “Karen” is a snowbird, spending part of the year in her Florida home close to our clinic and the balance in Pennsylvania.  She was seen for 34 visits between February and June 2010 before leaving for Pennsylvania.

Besides administering laser needles over the bladder, she received low intensity laser probe and LED treatment as well as bio-electromagnetic therapy for pain in her neck, both shoulders, low back, coccyx and both knees – as well as to address asthma, sinusitis and digestive issues.  Her pain scores generally improved following treatments, and she also reported better breathing, digestion, energy and mood.  She began to exercise regularly, including walking, working out on a rebounder and eventually jogging.

On February 28, 2011 “Karen” updated me on her condtion by phone.  “I am doing well,” she said.  “My bladder has been significantly better overall.  Before laser needle treatment I used to have a lot of pressure over the bladder, especially when rising to a standing position.  This has improved.  The biggest improvement lasted up until the cold weather which has always been very hard for me.  You should know that I was mostly house bound prior to beginning laser treatment.  When I started to exercise, I found that I could go farther and farther and choose where I wanted to go without thinking about my bladder or needing to urinate.  My energy has improved, and it’s still better.  My knees seldom bother me now and only a twinge if they do.  Shoulder and neck are better but could use more treatment.  I want others to know about the benefit of laser needles in IC and of laser light and magnetic fields.  I am dreaming of Florida sunshine, warmth, friends, birds, seashells, jogging, wonderful organic food and getting more pounds off the healthy way and of continued healing.”

Interstitial cystitis can be personally devastating.  In one survey of patients diagnosed with this condition, 55 percent reported that they had contemplated suicide, and 12 percent said they had actually attempted it;  40 percent were unable to work; 27 percent were unable to have sex because of pain;  27 per cent experienced a breakdown in their marriages.[1]

Trigeminal Neuralgia / Facial Pain / Headaches – Case Study

“Shirley” was a 58 year old female with a 15 year history of debilitating facial pain diagnosed variously as neuropathy in neck, ear and face, trigeminal neuralgia and neurological headaches.  She had been told that having all of her teeth removed was a possible solution. On her intake she wrote, “Many, many doctors.  My whole life is completely ruined by this.”  Her right-sided pain extended from the posterior and anterior neck to the mastoid bone, into the ear (at times), and it branched from the TM joint to the cheek and to the lower jaw.   During exacerbations, she often experienced pain behind the right eye and frontal headaches, and she reported depression, stress and thoughts of suicide, low energy, poor sleep and multiple digestive disturbances.

“Shirley” was treated with laser therapy, acupuncture and sometimes bio-electromagnetic therapy.  Pain scores which had been as high as 10 were reduced following treatment, and her baseline pain level improved.  “It’s given me back my life,” she said. She was discharged after 14 visits and has treated herself at home with an LED system.  Five months later she reported that although she still has had bad days, her quality of life, energy level, mood and comfort are better than they have been in some time.

Muscle Weakness and Wasting, Pain – Case Study

“Fay” was a 68 year old female with severe neck and shoulder pain whose chief complaints were weakness and muscle wasting, especially in the right arm, hand and fingers and the inability to grip objects or write.  Her hands were hot and painful when touched.  She said that tentative diagnoses of complex regional pain syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis had been proposed, and she reported that she had rheumatoid arthritis after sharing labs with me in which her erythrocyte sedimentation rate (52) and rheumatoid factor (21.7) were elevated.  Laser therapy was administered over the stellate ganglion[2] initially and later with direct contact to the affected arm, hand and fingers as pain eased.  She also received acupuncture and bio-electromagnetic therapy.

“Fay’s” vitamin D level tested low (18), and she began supplementing with 10,000 i.u. of D3 daily.  She also began a routine of swimming and water aerobics.  She was discharged after 24 visits and credits laser therapy plus exercise with a complete turnaround in her health.  Pre-treatment pain scores at her last few visits were 1-2 versus 8-9 at the outset of therapy, and she has regained muscle mass and the use of her hands, even to sew and paint watercolors.


[1] Self-care effectiveness and health outcomes in women with interstitial cystitis: implications for mental health clinicians. DCWT Brennan – Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 1998 – Informa Healthcare

[2] Laser therapy over the stellate ganglion has been used successfully in complex regional pain syndrome also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Wee JS, Jung JC, Han JY, Lee SG, Rowe SM., Effects of Stellate Ganglion Irradiation by the Low-level Laser Therapy on Reflex Sympathetic Dystorphy of the Hemiplegic Arm. Chonnam Med J. 2001 Mar;37(1):49-54.

Chronic  Back, Hip & Sciatic Pain

“George B.”  came with right-sided low back and hip pain radiating to the posterior thigh x 15 years and was scheduled for back surgery.  By the fifth visit, he reported a complete absence of pain.  He was seen for seven visits and canceled the surgery.

Back Pain / Sciatica / Neuropathy

“Dale J.”  was a 77 year old male whose chief complaint was severe, right sided back and hip pain which radiated to the ankle as well as progressive numbness in both legs beginning at the knee, worse on the right.   He also reported that he could not feel the accelerator pedal while driving because his right foot was completely numb.  Legs and feet were cold to touch.

Since his primary complaint was back pain, he was treated first for this with acupuncture,  laser and bioelectromagnetic therapies.   By the 8th visit, back and hip pain had resolved, and we began to treat legs and feet.   “I can feel my toes,” he said immediately following the first treatment to his legs and feet. After the next visit, he reported, ”I feel my toes, and my legs are warmer.”  And they were. “I feel everything now.  I feel better than I did when I was 70,” he reported after the 12th session.

Chronic Facial Pain – Case Study

“Shirley” had a 15 year history of debilitating facial pain and headaches diagnosed variously as neuropathy in neck, ear and face, trigeminal neuralgia and neurological headaches.  She had been told by one dentist that she might need to have all of her teeth removed.  On her intake she wrote, “Many, many doctors.  My whole life is completely ruined by this.”  Her right-sided pain extended from the posterior and anterior neck to the mastoid bone, into the ear (at times), and from the TM joint it branched along the cheek and lower jaw.   During exacerbations, pain sometimes ran down her shoulder and arm along the large intestine channel.  She also frequently experienced frontal headaches and pain behind the right eye and reported depression and stress from her condition, low energy, poor sleep and multiple digestive disturbances

“Shirley” was treated with laser therapy and acupuncture, sometimes preceded or followed by bio-electromagnetic therapy.  Pain scores which had been as high as 10 were alleviated following treatment, and her baseline pain declined progressively.  “It’s given me back my life,” she said. She was discharged after 14 visits with a LED system with which she has continued to treat herself at home as needed.  Five months later, she reported that while her pain has not dissipated completely, her quality of life, energy level, mood and comfort are better than they have been in 15 years.

Chronic Back Pain

  • JD was a thin, 86 year old male whose chief complaints were chronic low back pain for 15 years.  He scored his pain at 8 on a 10 point scale at his first visit.
  • Pre-treatment pain scores declined to less than one by the 8th visit, and he was discharged but has returned for treatment to strengthen his legs.

Sciatica / Hip Pain

  • NB was a 47 year old teacher whose chief complaints were sciatica and hip pain she scored at 10 pre treatment and 0-1 after the first session.  She then cleaned her entire house and returned in severe pain.
  • Pre and post treatment pain scores declined progressively in her subsequent five sessions, and range of motion improved.

Tendonitis (Hamstring, Shoulder Pain)

  • JL was a 62 year old retired high school coach with pain in his left hamstring, both shoulders (torn rotator cuff on the right) and both knees.
  • Hamstring and right shoulder pain scores were 4 pre-treatment and zero immediately afterward.  Pre-treatment pain scores declined progressively.  Pain in the right knee resolved without it being treated.
  • JL was treated for 9 sessions and discharged, returning for “tune-ups” each year in 2005, 2006. 2007 and 2008.

“Shattered” Knee, Nerve Pain

  • CC was a 68 year old female on oxycontin and gabapentin who had “shattered” her right knee and had replacement surgery in 2007.
  • Her chief complaints were burning pain from the knee to the ankle laterally following the surgery which she described as “like fire ants crawling up the leg” if she was without medication.
  • Pre-treatment pain scores were 4. She was seen for 4 visits.  Pain score prior to therapy at her last visit was zero.

Severe Neck and Shoulder Pain / Arm and Hand Weakness / Muscle Wasting

  • FO was a 68 year old female who came with severe, chronic pain in the neck, shoulders and numbness, tingling and pain in the arms and especially hands – which were hot to touch – as well as pain / weakness in low back, legs and knees.  Diagnoses of complex regional pain syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis had been proposed.
  • Her chief complaints were inability to grip objects or write as well as pain, weakness and muscle wasting in arms and hands.
  • She was discharged after 24 visits and credits laser therapy + increased activity / exercise with a complete turnaround in her health.  Pre-treatment pain scores at her last few visits were 1-2 vs 8-9 at the outset, and she has regained muscle mass and the use of her hands, even to sew and paint watercolors.

Heel Pain

  • RS, a 52 year old female with chronic left heel pain, had broken many small bones in both feet in a motorcycle accident 10 years earlier.  Prior to the 1st treatment, pain score was 5 and 3 afterward.  Although pain score was subsequently only 2 after her two follow-up visits, a few months later she reported that it had completely resolved.

Plantar Fasciitis

  • “Rose”, a 54 year old female who came with severe foot pain, writes in her own words: “My chief complaint was pain in both feet due to both severe plantar fasciitis and the results of a failed surgery. Symptoms included ongoing soreness, circulation irregularities, burning, pulling & aching during and after weight bearing. I am truly amazed (and joyful) over the significant reduction of all the above symptoms!  My pain level is minimal and my feet seem to be continuously getting stronger and more fully functional.   It has been four years since my surgery and there is simply no other explanation for this kind of improvement.  Laser acupuncture works!”

Neuroma

  • KJ was a 52 year old female whose primary complaint was pain and pressure at a nodule at the base of the third and fourth toes.
  • She was treated on 6 occasions and pain scores and the area of swelling became smaller and vanished prior to the last treatment.

Case Study – Shingles

  • JP was a 66 year old diabetic female who came in severe pain (“9-10”)with a red rash and herpetic lesions to the right sacral area / buttock and right inguinal area.
  • Over four treatments, post-treatment pain scores declined to 1.

Case Study – Knee Weakness / Instability

  • DG was an athletic 61 year old former police officer with repeated injuries to his left knee which he described as ‘loose’ and for which surgical replacement had been recommended.
  • He received 11 treatments with the goal of strengthening the knee and avoiding surgery.
  • He reported his knee moved easier with increased ‘tightness’ after treatment and has resumed all athletic activities.  5 years later he is running and playing basketball.

Case Study – “Pulled Groin”

  • LP was an athletic, 43 year old female who came two days after experience a “pulled groin” while resuming running after a long break.
  • She was treated on three consecutive days and instructed to refrain from running or otherwise straining the area.
  • Pain scored at 9 before treatment was 1-2 after the first session and 0 following the second and third sessions.

Case Study – Broken Leg

  • RS, a 36 year old female, fractured her tibia snow skiing in February 2002 and returned home uncasted.
  • She was seen twice before surgery.  Pain scores were 10 in right leg/knee before her 1st treatment, 1 immediately thereafter, 6 prior to her 2nd treatment the next day and 0 immediately afterward.
  • She was seen twice weekly after surgery to address pain / promote healing and for scar reduction which has improved progressively.

Case Study – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • RS – 35 year old female – was wearing braces on both wrists at her first visit. Carpal tunnel syndrome had been diagnosed a year and a half earlier, and surgery had been recommended.
  • She reported normal sensation in her fingers and thumbs immediately after the first session.
  • Some symptoms returned a day and a half after the 1st and 2nd treatments at progressively lower levels.  RS reported normal sensation in both hands following her third session.  Five years later she is asymptomatic.

Cervical Radiculopathy may mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • LS was a 56 year old male, automobile service technician who came because of numbness and tingling in the first four digits of his left hand.  He had been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome based on slow nerve conduction as measured by EMG and by signs and symptoms.
  • On the first visit he was treated with laser therapy over the medial wrist and palm – which produced no effect.
  • At his second visit laser therapy was given over and along the cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae, neck and left shoulder.
  • He reported that sensation in his fingers was immediately and completely restored.  He was seen for one follow-up visit three days later and reported only very slight numbness which was completely alleviated by laser treatment.

Chronic Shoulder Pain

  • FS was an 84 year old male with right shoulder pain x 30 years, following a fractured clavicle which had healed asymmetrically in comparison to the left side.
  • Initial pain scores were only 2-3, and patient’s chief complaint was limited range of motion and inability to work with his arm above his head.
  • After 12 visits he reported that pain had vanished, and he has been able to help in painting his house, using a roller above his head, and his golf game has also improved.

Chronic Shoulder Pain

  • EZ was a 73 year old retired male with chronic, intermittent pain between the shoulder blades on the right with certain movements of the arm.  He also was experiencing pain in the right bicep and occasional numbness and tingling extending from the elbow into the right forearm.
  • He was treated with laser therapy, acupuncture and mobilization weekly.  Bioelectromagnetic therapy was given x 5 consecutive days then twice weekly for 10 weeks.  Pre treatment pain scores which had been as high as 8 were less than one or zero with the same arm movements.  Patient has resumed daily Tai Chi practice and regained range of motion.  Three years later, he is completely pain free.

Gout

  • MM was a 70 year old male with a 20 year history of hypertension whose chief complaint was acute inflammation and pain in the left big toe / foot diagnosed as gout with a pain score of 7.
  • Pain score was less than one after the initial treatment. Before the second and last treatment he rated the pain at 2 and 0 thereafter.

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