What is Laser Treatment?
Laser treatment for arthritis is a therapy that is applied for the relief of pain, inflammation and stiffness that this condition causes.
This treatment uses a cold laser light that is applied to the specific areas that are painful. It does not burn or cut the skin. The laser sends wavelengths of this light to interact with cells to stimulate them to eliminate the pain and inflammation. The laser is at a low density so that it does not damage the skin and tissues involved in the area during treatment. The person who receives the treatment does not feel any pain during the procedure.
The laser is targeted to the area by a small handheld device that shoots this beam of light in a small, but fast like fashion over the area being treated. Depending on how small or large of area being treated, this procedure can take anywhere from seconds to several minutes. The severity of the arthritis condition is also kept in to consideration when determining how long the light is held over the area being treated in a therapy session.
Are There Any Advantages to This Treatment?
There are some advantages to laser treatment. The procedure is painless and does not have side effects that some medications can bring. This type of alternative offers the person who is receiving it the benefit to return to everyday life just minutes after the treatment is received.
After a treatment, the person can safely operate machinery and operate a motor vehicle without the worries of drowsiness.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
Disadvantages depend on the severity of the symptoms, and the size of the area being treated. A person may be required to undergo anywhere from eight to thirty treatments before they feel the effects. Most people attend the laser therapy session two to four times a week.
Another disadvantage of this type of treatment is that some insurance companies consider it as an alternative treatment and will not pay for it. This can cause a financial burden on the person to have to pay for the out of pocket expense him or herself. Medicaid and Medicare do not pay for this procedure either.
Is Laser Treatment Effective in Treating Arthritis?
A study conducted by professional medical researchers for the Journal of Rheumatology reports laser treatments do have a positive effect and does bring some short-term relief of stiffness and pain associated with arthritis.
The study suggests that doctors who use this procedure should record and report the device that they use, and the technique they use on their patients, so that more detailed information can be obtained for the purpose of bringing more accurate information and further studies in the future.
Something to Consider
When a person is diagnosed with an arthritis ailment, it is very important to consult with their physician before making the decision to have laser treatment for arthritis. This is because there are different types of arthritis and this type of therapy may not be appropriate for that particular individual.
Brosseau L, Welch V, Wells G, et al. Low level laser therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a metaanalysis. J Rheumatol. 2000;27:1961-1969.Heussler JK, Hinchey G, Margiotta E, et al. A double blind randomised trial of low power laser treatment in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis. 1993;52:703-706.