Cold Laser Therapy for Osteoarthritis
One of the most common problems of aging is osteoarthritis.
Where your bones meet together is called a joint. In order for our joints to move smoothly there is cartilage surrounding our bones at the ends (the smooth, shiny stuff) and synovial fluid to act as a cushion and shock absorption, and also provides nutrition to the joints.
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the joints. Bones lose their cartilage, there is less fluid and an increase in friction. This increasing friction causes an increase of swelling, which is a different kind of fluid from synovial fluid. Inflammation contains a lot of irritants that bother the tissues of the joints, causes more degeneration and also pressure in the joints which increases pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis can be very debilitating. The most common complaint is morning stiffness and stiffness after sitting for long periods of time. The stiffness usually lasts for a minimum of 30 minutes to as long as 2 hours. Then it will re-occur again throughout the day after periods of inactivity. Patients with osteoarthritis also complain of loss of range of motion, inability to do some of the activities they used to do, having to modify activities, and pain with joint movement.
What can you do to help with Osteoarthritis?
There are many good natural supplements that can help regenerate the joints. Keeping active helps (if you don’t use, it you lose it!), stretching is important, a hot shower in the morning to get things moving. Therapy options: Massage helps keep the muscles supple and increases range of motion. Chiropractic is great to keep the joints moving with mobilization and (gentle) adjustments. The chiropractic adjustment helps break up adhesions in the joints, improves range of motion and improves the amount of synovial fluid.
As a chiropractor I see many patients with osteoarthritis. I was happy with my results with just the traditional chiropractic approach, but I was introduced along the way to Cold Laser Therapy. I was curious, and with some in-clinic research my patients were reporting amazing results. I have found that by combining chiropractic mobilization and adjustments with cold laser therapy I have been able to see the effects of osteoarthritis basically disappear.
Cold Laser Therapy is a simple treatment. The laser is applied to the offending joint from various angles for up to 10 minutes per joint. For osteoarthritis you should be treated between 10 to 20 times (2-3 times per week for 5-10 weeks). Once the symptoms have subsided it is recommended to follow up with 2 treatments once a month to keep the symptoms away. (Packages are available.)
Research studies have shown the cold laser therapy reduces pain by 70%, reduces morning stiffness by 27.5 minutes and increases flexibility by 50%.
J Rheumatol. 2000 Aug;27(8):1961-9. Low level laser therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a metaanalysis.