Chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions but it is not a disease. Chronic pain is a genuine physical problem and its epidemic is being spread by the very treatments the doctors are prescribing. Over thirty percent of patients across the world present with back, neck, or head pain, the majority of whom are in chronic pain, but all doctors offer is a prescription for painkillers and a referral for intensive physical therapy. The patients never improve, in fact they get worse. Instead of receiving empathy and understanding they are often accused of being dishonest about the severity of their pain. Some are even sent for psychotherapy. ‘The Art and Science of Healing – with Light’ breaks that vicious cycle. Within it is explained to patients how they developed chronic pain in the first place and how to begin to heal their migraines, back pain, neck pain, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and all forms of chronic pain in general.
Doctor Mark Rogers bases the healing process on his 7 Principles of Healing Chronic Pain. His methods are all based in science, are common sense, pain free, drug free, have no painful exercises, and no ‘mind over matter’ meditations for coping because the problem is not in the mind of the patients, it is in their bodies at a deep cellular level. The 7 Principles have a conservative efficacy of eighty-five percent. As long as the Principles are followed the patient will heal. It is the medical system that is keeping patients in pain through ignoring the origin of the pain. Pain is not a mystery, it is not a disease, it means you are being hurt. Chronic pain means you are still being hurt. Written in a clear easy to read style with minimal medical jargon it is designed for patients to finally give them understand what happened to them and gain control over their healing processes so they can start healing today.
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‘It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it – the life of that man is one long sin against mankind’
W.K. Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief” Contemporary review 1877
‘…make a habit of two things: to help; or at least, to Do No Harm.’
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, 460 BC – 377 BC
Chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions but it is not a disease. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a disease called Pain. Pain is always a symptom of another problem. Pain means you are being hurt. Chronic pain indicates you are continuing to be being hurt.
Acute and Chronic Pain
Whenever we feel pain our brain knows that something dangerous is happening and it needs to take protective action. When pain persists our brain activates our bodies systems to take the necessary steps to protect us. The overly active nervous systems cause large amounts of signals to be sent to the brain sending us into a state of hyper-vigilance, which is why the chronic pain patient becomes jumpy and has great difficulty falling asleep.
The patient is not only in pain but is tired in the extreme yet what the doctors see is that the pain is persisting when the injury should have well and truly healed. On the outside the body will indeed appear normal, scans and X-rays show nothing. The actual problem is at a deep cellular level but in the absence of any obvious reason for the persistent pain the complaints of the patient are often dismissed. The patient is offered medication for pain relief and told to exercise and have physical therapies.
When these don’t work, as in the vast majority of cases, the response from the doctor is to do more of the same. Chronic pain patients are placed on endless repetitions of ineffective treatment, yet their condition worsens. Instead of questioning the treatment it is the patient who is viewed with doubt, their very sanity is questioned and often psychotherapy is prescribed.
It is not your imagination. Your pain is real. It is the way the medical system repeatedly enforces harmful actions upon your body that keeps your pain alive. Pain is produced to protect us but the longer we feel it the more our brain and body systems become locked into a sensitised state. The 7 Principles outline in detail why and how this happens and how to reverse it so the brain and body can gradually de-activate the protective processes and instead activate the processes of healing.
Acute pain is often defined as sharp pain with a duration of less than 3 months, while chronic pain has a duration of longer than 3 months. When we take into account the belief that pain relates directly to tissue health and most tissue injuries resolve within 2-3 months, it has always been felt that any associated pain should also resolve in that same time.
Acute pain by its sharp, hurtful nature motivates us to take protective actions that will keep us from re-injury and help our tissues heal. One of these actions is the inbuilt withdrawal reflex that makes us recoil automatically away from any source of pain, identical to when you pull back your hand from a flame so as not to get burnt.
In chronic pain your withdrawal reflex has been overridden because of the constant state of stress in the body reinforcing the hypersensitive responses of our bodies systems which make certain adjustments to help us manage. These limit recovery, and they are caused by the standard recommended treatments prescribed by your own doctor yet pain patients are told they are beyond help and that they must now learn to live with the pain.
Not anymore. The 7 Principles will guide you through making re-adjustments which will faster activate healing.
My Personal Experience with Chronic Pain and How I Healed.
I had been suffering migraines since I was 8 years old. I also had ringing in my ears, known as tinnitus, and ongoing neck and lower back pain.
I had 8 successful medical clinics across Australia, and was aiming to have many more. It wasn’t because I was a dedicated doctor, it was because I was driven and determined to be successful. It would take me years to understand the direct connection that these attitudes, common to doctors, have on the way we treat patients in pain. The instant I understood the connection that behaviour changed but up until then it was all I knew.
I’m the son of a Medico. He was very successful, well respected, and my role model, but he was rarely home because he had to stay at work until he had seen his daily requisite of one hundred paying patients. That was the number he needed to see in order to maintain his doctor’s lifestyle, and it was how most doctors operated, by numbers, not by patient outcome. When I got together with other doctors all we talked about was how many patients we saw in a day, not how many we had healed. The noble dictum of Hippocrates, ‘Do No Harm’ was never discussed, it was ancient history.
Looking after those eight clinics and all that entailed, my young family, and trying to keep up a lifestyle while having regular migraines was debilitating. The tinnitus was driving me crazy and I was plagued by the back and neck pains.
When I was at medical school my neurology professors had no answers either. They all knew my father and that he was also a migraine sufferer so they said it must be genetic. Another suggestion was that there was something wrong with my brain.
For the more than thirty percent of my patients who also had at least one of the same problems the best I could do was to offer some sympathy as I handed over a prescription or sent them down the hall to the in-house physiotherapist of the clinic. The struggle with my own pain meant I often needed to race back into my room for a quick lie down before seeing the next patient. It was a vicious cycle. I couldn’t help my patients and I couldn’t help myself.
One morning I awoke with a painful stiff neck, commonly known as wryneck. As if the pain of that wasn’t bad enough on the way to work I could feel I was developing a migraine. My day was booked solid but being the newly graduated doctor I felt it was important to stay at work. The physiotherapist noticed my condition and beckoned me over. He didn’t know anything about me nor did he ask any questions other than if I had woken up that way.
Before I knew it with one aggressive action he had wrenched my neck. The misguided application of brute force was really the performance of a classic ‘magic trick’. My chronically inflamed pain nerve fibers had been shocked into submission thereby inhibiting the constant pain-inducing muscle contractions. At the time it seemed like an instant cure. I didn’t know it was only a temporary state.
I felt orgasmic relief. I let out a sigh of satisfaction and was able to get back to work and finish the day. For a few hours I thought he was a genius but the next day I couldn’t get out of bed – or the next day. The pain was so bad there was no way I could go into work. When I went back to see him again it was not for any further treatment but to confront him about his methods. I will never forget what he told me. He said,
‘If I had told you what I was about to do, you wouldn’t have let me do it.’ He knew that it was harmful, and he did it anyway. He also knew it was innately wrong to me personally, and to all humans. To protect our own necks at all costs is inherently ingrained within our natural hardwiring for the survival of our species. It is pure lunacy to allow another human being to freely attack our neck. I learnt from a horrified friend that he is still doing it as therapy to his paying patients.
He had put temporary severe pressure on the nerves and I got the equivalent release that acupuncture provides. What I now know, and what medical school never taught me, is that he had just made the pain nerves go numb only to stir later, angrier than before.
His dangerous ‘therapy’ increased the severity and frequency of my migraines. He took me from significantly injured to broken. It changed me from having frequent terrible headaches to suffering every day. I had been blithely sending off my pain patients to have twice weekly physiotherapy when I had no understanding of the consequences. I believe that in general the vast majority of medicos refer pain sufferers for such physical manipulations because they haven’t witnessed what is inflicted upon the unsuspecting.
I was twenty-six years old when I had that shocking physiotherapy experience. From then on, for the next nine years, my migraines became a daily hell that made me feel like chopping off my head.
The incident happened in my first clinic, in it, and in every clinic I opened after that, I always provided plenty of space for the physiotherapists. I mindlessly went along with the medical practice of sending pain patients to physio because it meant more income for the clinic.
It was all about the money, but it was done guilt free as nothing was taught in medical school of how to manage back pain. It was conventional medical wisdom that the physiotherapist was the appropriately trained health professional for treating pain. For the next 20 years I was reminded again and again that I was never to question the establishment, they knew best. In my mind I thought I was looking after the patients and the business, I would send those pain wracked patients down the hall to get manipulated and put into traction and was proud of it.
In 1997 the meteoric growth of my clinics was halted when the government changed the rules of how clinics could engage doctors. My multiple clinics suddenly didn’t have enough doctors and profits were negatively affected, as was everything else, from my relationships to my health. My response to it all was to keep up appearances and I did that by working harder, which in turn put more strain on my relationships and health. I couldn’t seem to get away from those vicious cycles, and a new problem arose – depression.
In Principle 3. Reduce the Inflammation I will explain how depression is one of the consequences of inflammation, but of course I didn’t know it then. I didn’t seek any help and looking back it was probably just as well. If I had followed standard procedures I would have been sent for psychotherapy and been told it’s all in my mind, or taken anti-depressants. No one knew or would have even believed that depression is very real repercussion of the spread of inflammation from unhealed injuries.
My father would say, ‘bite off as much you can chew and then work out how to swallow it’, so I did. The trouble was I had bitten off so much I was choking. I worked harder and harder, borrowed more money and then worked even harder. And my migraines were murderous. It never occurred to me to slow down or simplify anything, I was one of the many who thought that maintaining the aura of prestige was of the utmost importance.
NASA came to town
Everything changed when I was introduced to the Science of Light, phototherapy. Like most doctors I receive invitations to attend seminars and conferences, only a few of which it is possible to accept because of work, and frankly the ones to more glamorous locations get priority so as to make it feel like a vacation as well.
One such invitation was to attend a presentation by two scientists. It meant a trip interstate to a suburb of Sydney called Castle Hill. If it had been located within the city of Sydney with its beautiful harbour and exciting buzz I might have given it some thought but being stuck in a suburb had no appeal. It barely seemed worth my time so I declined, I was far too busy. The organisers had targeted me as a potential major customer because of my eight not so booming clinics. They called to ask me to reconsider and I declined again, but they persisted. I finally accepted more for the weekend away than out of any real interest in some science presentation.
It was on LASER. I knew nothing about laser therapy when I got that invitation. I knew there was a lot happening in the medical field with lasers being used in surgery, dentistry, dermatology, optical, and even the beauty industry. I couldn’t see how lasers could assist general practice patients. Back then I was just like any other general practitioner, I was unquestioning of the conventional mainstream methods but I went prepared to listen with an open mind; thankfully.
It was July 1998 when I attended that seminar given by Professor Edmund Wong and Dr Garrett Lee. They had travelled from the U.S.A to educate interested health professionals in the pain relieving benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy, (LLLT) also known as cold laser therapy.
It was at NASA that Dr Garrett Lee was introduced to laser. He worked as a cardiologist monitoring the astronauts upon their return from space missions and was involved in finding ways to help them recover more quickly from the altering effects of being in space. Zero gravity wreaks havoc on the body. When the astronauts return to Earth they temporarily cannot walk due to severe muscle atrophy. They suffer daily from nausea, are full of lymphedema, and they are in pain. The astronauts recover eventually but there is significant danger of permanent damage occurring until they do. Faster healing was needed.
Lee, while part of the NASA team, witnessed it was chronic swelling, lymphedema, causing the pain and that laser light was very effective in its reduction. The astronauts were surrounded with infrared cold lasers and the pain went away. As a result lasers were built into the space suits to prevent the no gravity lymphedema. This was over thirty-five years ago. Lee introduced Wong to laser who spent the next twenty years applying LLLT to chronic pain patients.
Edmund Wong was a professor of dentistry originally from Beijing but residing in Hawaii for over twenty-five years. He was an expert in head and neck pain, which included migraine, temporal mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.
It was all interesting stuff and the science of it all was fascinating but it was of no use to me – until he said they used laser to alleviate the pain of migraine. Suddenly they had my full attention. The simple words spoken next instantly shed light upon the mystery of chronic pain.
‘An injury starts it all.’ A physical injury of any form, from a fall to a sporting accident, dental procedures, even an over-stretch could cause microscopic and/or macroscopic tears in the soft tissue. The injury for some reason has never healed so the body does what it is designed to do in such cases, it keeps on producing pain. They also emphasised that bad posture aggravated the injury, which in turn aggravated the pain.
Everything I had just heard presented as a scientific finding was also sheer common sense that every doctor knew about, yet somehow through the machinations of modern medicine it had become uncommon sense.
Throughout the presentation they explained the pure science of cold laser therapy. Albert Einstein laid the foundations of laser in his Nobel Prize winning discovery of the law of photoelectric effect. Atoms of light can be stimulated to emit photon energy in a steady beam of radiation. That’s what LASER means, Light Amplification Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There were many more Nobel Prizes won along the way as scientists worked on the law and brought LASER to fruition and enhanced its uses.
Cold laser causes accelerated recovery of injuries through the phenomenon of photobiomodulation. The light that is synthesized by the LASER device is cool to the touch, it does not cut or burn but its light penetrates into the cells just deep enough to reach the mitochondria, the energy producers within our cells. This triggers a cascade of processes that results in the acceleration of the healing of wounds through cell and tissue repair. Every word they spoke of light was true and undeniable.
I knew light was used in healing because that is how we treat babies for jaundice. Infrared ray lamps became highly popular for a while and proved to assist in healing but a few people placed them too close to the body, closer than the recommended greater than twenty-three centimetres distance. Some nasty burns were incurred so it was broadcast on television that it was dangerous.
Instead of making the minor adjustment of keeping it greater than twenty-three centimetres from the body an inexpensive and effective healing tool that recreates the laws of nature was rejected. In its place the patient in pain is given a prescription for drugs, or is sent for physical therapies.
Light is therapy. Over one hundred and fifty years ago Florence Nightingale, the brilliant nursing pioneer also known as The Lady with the Lamp, knew that the patients nearest the windows got better faster than the ones in the dark corners.
It’s been known for many decades that the human body transforms light into electrochemical energy. We need light to function, a bit like a plant with photosynthesis. All doctors know that light is essential to activate the chain of reactions within the cells that stimulate metabolism and the immune response. In spite of that knowledge mainstream medicine has so far chosen to ignore the power of cold laser therapy to heal, which is like declaring science to be impotent and even shambolic. The science of light is obedient to the laws of physics, which are the laws of Nature. It is eternal. It is irrefutable.
And so it was science, not medicine that provided me the answer to what is the source of chronic pain; an injury in the soft tissue of the body that was never allowed to heal properly.
The presentation progressed into a demonstration. Patients were wheeled in. Everyone in the audience was some form of health professional so we could all tell that these patients were clearly in pain. We looked on as cold laser therapy was applied to each patient and each one was soon able to stand up and walk with ease.
There was no evangelical zeal that we had witnessed a miracle. There was no whooping for joy, and no Hallelujahs. It was just a calm and logical explanation that the light had relaxed the muscles, stimulated the cells and reduced the lymphedema, which meant pain free movement. If applied over longer periods the results would be permanent.
I quickly stuck my hand up and said,
‘I suffer migraines can you do anything for me?’ They used me as an example of how to treat a migraine patient by applying the laser to the back of my neck.
‘But the pain is in my head.’
‘No’, they replied.
‘You think it’s in your head but the pain has spread to the surrounding scalp, from the swelling in your neck.’
I dwelt on that statement as I enjoyed the laser therapy. It felt good. It was like a massage without the pressure. A wave of euphoria swept through me as my muscles took in the laser light and relaxed. It was the best massage I never had. I could feel my muscles relaxing but I wasn’t being hurt, snapped or cracked. The light was doing all the work.
I was so excited about this life changing medical discovery that when I left for home it was with the laser kit tucked tightly under my arm.
I became my own human experiment. I had some misadventures to say the least but when I applied the laser to a certain spot, at the right hand side of the base of my skull, on the nuchal line, I felt something. The laser light had found the micro tear in my neck. I’d hit a nerve, literally. The nerve of the ice pick man, a term only migraine sufferers can understand, the nerve of sensation, the occipital sensory nerve.
When I hit that spot on the back of my neck the sensation followed the path of pain that I experienced when I had a migraine. It shot up from the back of my neck, over my scalp and up through to the front of my head, to the temple, right in the spot my head throbbed when I had a migraine. It was the moment I defined migraine as being not a head or brain problem but a musculoskeletal problem. My head flopped back and I let out an involuntary sigh of relief.
As with neuralgia of sciatica, the ligament sends nerve pain down through the sensory nerve of the leg, migraine behaves the same way. It was an epiphany. Migraine is neuralgia of the scalp. I would later patent the process of finding that sweet spot to provide evidence of diagnosis, something that had not happened before in history. When that spot is found and treated all of the muscles relax, the entire jigsaw of the superficial posterior movers, from the forehead to the toes. I was experiencing full release of body tension, and it felt wonderful.
Before cold laser therapy cured me of migraines I always walked stooped over. My head would be bent down low as if I was ducking for cover. I kept my head in its ducked down position as if I was tucking in my chin.
I had often noticed photographs of the late Diana, Princess of Wales because I knew she was a migraine sufferer too. Every time I saw a photograph of her on some magazine cover I noted her stooped over posture and the angle of her head, it was like mine. Our profiles were the same. Originally it had earned her the famous moniker of ‘Shy Di’ but as her fame increased it made her look coy, other times it made her look provocative. Being a fellow migraine sufferer, I knew she was in pain.
After I had the muscle release experience from the laser I caught sight of myself in the mirror and stopped stock-still for what seemed like an age but was probably a milli-second. Thoughts of Diana’s profile rushed into my head. I sped to the computer and began searching for photographs of her. As soon as they came up it was obvious. Our profiles weren’t the same anymore. I had straightened up.
I rubbed my forehead as I thought on the seed that Doctor Wong had planted, that it all starts with an injury. In some cases it could have happened so long ago that it has been forgotten. My fingers brushed along the scar above my left eye triggering the memory of the accident I had when I was 6 years old. I was at a playground playing a chasing game with another boy. I was right behind him running fast to catch him. He pushed a swing out of his way as he ran away from me, causing it to swing up high.
Its metal corner struck me in the face as it swung back down. The force made me fall backwards and smash the back of my head onto the ground. The blood streaming from my face was what got all the attention. The trauma to my head got none. I was taken to hospital for stitches and for a while there was a real fear that I might lose my eye. Another quick search online on Diana revealed that she had fallen off her horse and hit her head when she was a young girl. On that day, looking at Lady Di, I learnt that if pain from injury alters posture then proper posture must play a role in recovery.
I darted from the computer screen to the mirror to confirm the change. Pain from injury alters posture. It might have been stating the obvious. You don’t need to be a doctor to see when someone is in pain, they walk differently and with difficulty, they sit differently, gingerly, they wince when touched, and they have a sullen look in their eyes.
It is right in front of us but we doctors are not looking at them. We are too busy looking at the screen making sure we are taking enough notes. It doesn’t matter if the patient does not get cured as long as the notes get taken, otherwise we face punishment by the medical board.
Medici, The Art and Science of Healing.
The biggest ‘discovery’ I made in that week after learning about the healing power of LLLT was that the human body is beholden to the laws of physics. It’s how and why we evolved. Science is the study of these natural laws. Physics is Greek for ‘Nature’. Applying these natural laws is the art to which all mankind should strive, especially doctors. When those laws are followed a normal body functions at its peak and is in perfectly good health.
The laws of gravity play a major role in our health. When we have correct posture we are in a state of equilibrium. When we have distorted posture as in the case of a pain patient that equilibrium is disturbed and the result is more pain.
It’s natural, it is science, and medicine is an applied science. The art of it is where the practitioner hones his or her skills in order to apply them for the maximum benefit of the patient. In the case of the pain patient no science is being applied and no art is being honed. No skills are put to use. Instead doctors are blindly following guidelines and protocols that while being profitable to their clinics are causing the patient more harm than good.
Goldman’s Cecil Medicine 2004, puts it perfectly in the next few paragraphs.
‘Medicine is a profession that incorporates science and the scientific method with the art of being a physician. The art of tending to the sick is as old as humanity itself. Even in modern times the art of caring and comforting, guided by millennia of common sense as well as a more recent systematic approach to medical ethics remains the cornerstone of medicine. Without these humanistic qualities, the application of the modern science of medicine is suboptimal, ineffective or even detrimental.’
‘The essential humanistic qualities of caring and comforting can achieve full benefit only if they are coupled with an understanding of how medical science can and should be applied to patients with known or suspected diseases. Without this knowledge, comforting may be inappropriate or misleading, and caring may be ineffective or counterproductive if it inhibits a sick person from obtaining appropriate, scientific medical care.’
‘In the pain patient any therapy must improve the underlying condition not just attempt to suppress the symptoms.’
‘To care for a patient as an individual, the physician must understand the patient as a person. This fundamental precept of doctoring includes an understanding of the patient’s social situation, family issues, financial concerns, and preferences for different types of care and outcomes, ranging from maximum prolongation of life to the relief of pain and suffering. If the physician does not appreciate and address these issues, the science of medicine cannot be applied appropriately, and even the most knowledgeable physician will fail to achieve the desired outcomes.’
Medicine does not apply any of that eloquent logic to chronic pain patients, especially if they are trying to make an insurance claim. Instead they are treated as neurotic, or downright dishonest. Modern medical methods for treating chronic pain contain zero science; and science is the understanding of Nature.
The natural laws that shaped us, that created us, are being ignored in the unnatural way medicine is currently treating pain.
Doctors are not observing patients properly and I had been equally guilty. Medicos have stopped looking at patients as people and only see a symptom to be treated in isolation. That is not medicine that is crisis management.
Another undeniable truth is money directs medical decisions. We are overly influenced by the powerful marketing of pharmaceutical companies and we want all the divisions of our clinics to be profitable so we refer patients on for physical therapy when they should not be having any.
I had long been doing all those things wrong too but once I knew they were wrong I stopped doing them. The accepted ways might have been working well for the doctors but they were not helping the patient. I decided I had to learn other things that are simply not being taught to medical students. I took myself back to medical school.
I went to see the heads of the faculty and told them I wanted to return to study anatomy. Not for the regular classes that all the medical students do, they were nowhere near thorough enough. I wanted to work one on one with their most senior professor. A deal was struck and I paid the hefty fee for the private tuition.
Once that was organised I asked my next question.
‘I think I need to learn biophysics. Please enrol me in those classes?’ They couldn’t help me. There was no class in biophysics anywhere in Australia and at the time of writing there still isn’t.
I was as driven to progress my learning as I had been previously about opening clinics. Laser could help speed up the process of curing chronic pain. My patients needed this.
‘Okay then, please direct me to someone who can teach me everything about cold lasers.’
Again they couldn’t help me. There was no one teaching anything about cold laser in the entire university. I was advised to try the Australian National University (ANU) in our nation’s capital, Canberra. It was over eleven hundred kilometres away and a twelve-hour drive from my home town of Adelaide.
I called the ANU. They had a laser department but it was mostly about surgical or defence lasers. One of the directors was a man so esteemed the ANU named a building after him, the Emeritus Professor of atomic and molecular physics, Erich Weigold. He was not the man to help me. But – I was told his son Adam was, and he had offices in Adelaide.
Adam Weigold PhD, is an atomic and laser physicist who was then working as the Australian distributor for some of the world’s biggest laser companies. I made the appointment to see him.
Whereas my anatomy tutor was the quintessential nutty professor with wild hair, in his senior years and with a narrow focus on his subject, Adam Weigold looked like a male model. He was young, good-looking and had a rare and expert breadth of knowledge on all aspects of laser. An added bonus was we discovered our sisters were good friends, by the end of our first meeting, so were we.
I began to explain to him that cold laser therapy could heal wounds and therefore ease pain. The NASA scientists had done amazing work but I needed to take it further because by their own admission their efficacy was mid-range. I wanted him to teach me more about laser so I could develop an efficient healing method using it and Nature’s laws. I sat back and waited for his reaction. I was afraid he would think I was a nut case.
I asked him, ‘Do you think I’m crazy?’
He looked at me and said,
‘Well Mark, you might be crazy but your ideas aren’t.’
He knew about light healing pain! All physicists did. The scientists were more up to speed than the doctors. Adam didn’t need any convincing that I had learnt something important. He said,
‘Mark, it’s biophysics. It’s not just light we are talking about, it is biology.’ Doctors would never have even thought about biology and physics crossing paths. I never did anyway. Adam said that scientists had been trying to introduce cold laser therapy using infrared light to medicine for the past twenty years. There had been barely any interest at all.
A few physical therapists had given it a try. They had bought tiny, low powered units of 30 milliwatts, the current models are more than ten-fold that at 450 milliwatts, and applied them for two minutes. They might as well have been shining a torch. Because of that uninformed introduction cold laser therapy had been deemed ineffective.
I knew laser light could heal. It had healed me but I didn’t want to be the medico who holds a laser in his hand and points and shoots it like an instant camera. I wanted to know everything. To get the most out of the patient I needed to get the most out of the laser. Adam made it clear that I needed to gain a better understanding of physics before I could learn anything about laser.
He guided me through quantum physics and photons, the source of light and energy. I began to understand how light could heal by the effect it has on the human body.
We cannot live without light, much like plants absorb the energy of the sun to survive, as in photosynthesis, sunlight, or the energy of the laser light. To humans it is just as essential. If the sun were to disappear we would have just a fraction over eight minutes to live. Light truly is a matter of life and death.
For the next six months I spent every morning and lunchtime with Adam going over things like the infrared spectrum, wavelengths and frequencies. Every afternoon was spent with the anatomy professor and me leaning over cadavers as I learned every millimetre of the intricate wonders of the musculoskeletal system of the human body.
Soon I had the grounding of the art of the anatomy of the body and how every ligament, tendon and muscle are all links in a chain, and any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When there is a problem in one element of the chain before too long the entire chain is compromised.
I am still no expert in biophysics but at least now have enough understanding of its laws to know its role in the health of the human body. Every movement our bodies make follows these laws, such as the law of gravity. Every movement we make follows the laws of gravity. When we work with gravity we move well and get stronger. When we attempt to defy gravity Nature bites.
Days were taken up with study and so were my nights. Every evening I scoured the Internet for anything and everything about laser to make sure the word was spreading. I didn’t care if it wasn’t me spreading it just as long as someone was. I was relieved to find there was some action. In Europe there was a lot of research and application taking place. Laser was definitely doing some good, but not enough. The efficacy, like that of the men from NASA, was averaging out at around forty percent.
Adam and I discussed in detail what we could do to increase its efficacy. Over the next few months we experimented with frequency, power density, wavelength and doses. The laser I needed didn’t exist, so we built one, and then another. We ended up building many. The advancements I was able to achieve in healing could not have been possible without the re-education I was given by my two brilliant tutors. Going back to school to get re-educated was one of the best things I ever did.
Doctors Don’t Like Change
The only thing that would impede the spread of the healing science of light would be the minefield of medical bureaucracy. I know the history of medicine and how it reacts to anything new that questions the doctors methods; badly. History is full of examples of medical hubris at the cost of the wellbeing of the patient.
In 1615 William Harvey discovered that the heart pumps blood to circulate through the body. Prior to that it was believed that the liver transformed food into blood. Other physicians criticised and rejected Harvey’s findings. Over one hundred years ago patients feared going to hospitals. So many of them developed terrible fevers and died. In 1843 the esteemed American writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes came up with the theory that it was doctors themselves who were spreading disease from patient to patient and even causing their deaths, all because they would not wash their hands. He wanted doctors to sterilise their instruments, change the clothing they had been wearing, and of course to wash their hands. There was outrage at Dr Holmes’s recommendations with one opponent, Dr Charles Meigs, claiming, ‘Doctors are gentlemen and gentlemen’s hands are clean.’
In 1849 the Hungarian physician Dr Ignaz Semmelweis also proposed that it was doctors who were causing disease and death. They performed autopsies and afterwards, without washing their hands, delivered babies. They rode through muddy streets and across manure-riddled fields and then without changing clothing or washing up would tend to wounds. When Dr Semmelweis insisted doctors implement hygiene he too was met with such derision and ridicule that he was sent to the insane asylum where he was beaten to death. His findings however formed the basis for modern medical hygiene.
In the 1950’s Dr Jonas Salk had to battle to get a decent lab and any funding to find a vaccine for polio even though the disease was crippling children at epidemic rates. When he was ready to start vaccinating he was almost shut down. According to some medical researchers he was not putting enough detail into his notes and they tried to declare his work ineffective.
In the 1960’s Professor Graeme Clark, here in Australia, was determined to find a way to help deaf people hear. He engaged in intense research in the way the brain responded to coded sound. He believed he needed to find a way to electrically stimulate the auditory nerve. Mainstream medicine thought he was just another nutty professor – until he invented the cochlear implant.
Up until 1981 if you developed an ulcer it was deemed to be your fault. You created it by stressing too much. Dr Barry Marshall, from Western Australia, couldn’t bear the dismissive attitudes of the treating doctors towards the helpless patients. He and Dr Robin Warren noticed that lab results showed that all the ulcer patients had the same gut infection, Helicobacter pylori, which meant basic antibiotics would cure them. It was simple and it was obvious but mainstream medicine dismissed his finding.
Ulcer patients continued to either have their stomachs removed or bleed to death, all because the medical elite would not concede they were wrong. In desperation Dr Marshall drank a cupful of the bacteria, gave himself ulcerous symptoms, and then cured himself with antibiotics. As a result not only are ulcers now a thing of the past but stomach cancer too has virtually disappeared. The two doctors won Nobel Prizes.
The spreading of the danger was iatrogenic, Greek for ‘born from the doctor’. The doctors were the ones spreading the epidemic. Some things never change. In the case of chronic pain it is still the attitudes of some within the health profession that is the greatest cause of patient suffering. The very people who design the medical system are the ones perpetuating the problem and this personal stake, this conflict of interest to use a business term, means the medical system is ill equipped to even begin to address let alone eliminate the problem.
The innate trust my patients had in me, as their doctor, was when my real work began. The fact that I was showing genuine interest in their history and my explanation of how cold laser was safe and non-invasive led to them asking if I would apply it to them. I started using it on patients with back injuries and as they got better other patients asked to be treated. If it weren’t for my patients trusting me not to harm them I would not have gained the knowledge I have as quickly. I could have sat in a lab for years looking at rats or monkeys but I chose to teach my patients what I had learned and they wanted to learn along with me.
Others at that presentation back in 1998 might have seen what I had seen and gone back to their regular practice and changed nothing about their approach to chronic pain. I saw it and saw the future, and I had healed myself.
Soon after I realized I hadn’t had a migraine since the day I hit that sweet spot, the site of my original injury. I recall saying out loud, ‘I think I’ve cured migraine.’ A few weeks after that I noticed the ringing in my ears had stopped. It was then I made the connection. It was perfectly clear that the laser had caused the inflammation to subside therefore tinnitus must be a by-product of inflammation. It was the most exciting time in my entire medical career to know that science continued to deliver answers to mysteries mainstream medical methods had long stopped trying to heal.
But I was not prepared for the resistance and ridicule from within my own profession. When I started using laser some doctors complained to the medical board. Physiotherapists were sent in from other practices to pretend to be patients, and then go online to disparage my work. But I was not deterred. I would let the results speak for me. My methods were achieving an average efficacy of eighty-five percent. Pharmaceutical companies become delirious with joy if any of their drugs achieve an efficacy of thirty percent. Of the patients who are diligent and follow the Principles precisely, there is one hundred percent positive resolution.
Enough about me. The 7 Principles of healing chronic pain will provide the knowledge you need to have a healthier, pain free life.
The Seven Principles of Healing Chronic Pain.
Principle 1. You are Injured
Principle 2. Do No (Further) Harm
Principle 3. Reduce the Inflammation,
Principle 4. Homeostasis, the Art of Self Preservation
Principle 5. You Need Light
Principle 6. Posture
Principle 7. Nobody Heals You but You.