1 out of every 11 Australians are living with osteoarthritis and two-thirds of those affected are women . It is the most common form of arthritis and the predominant condition leading to knee and hip replacement surgery in Australia . Cold laser therapy promises to be a valuable alternative treatment option.
What happens in Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease leading to a gradual breakdown of cartilage (most commonly in the knees, back, neck and hands). That breakdown of cartilage leads to a change in load distribution and biomechanics, which causes bone spurs to develop . That combination of degeneration and uncontrolled growth causes chronic pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Most of the causes that lead to osteoarthritis are inevitable. They include aging, genetic factors but also overweight and a lack of general physical activity.
Far reaching consequences
The chronic pain and limitations in daily activities that come along with Osteoarthritis can negatively impact a person’s quality of life . One of four Osteoarthritis patients reports having “fair” or “poor” health . Every year, more than 100 million years of productive life are lost to back pain and osteoarthritis-related disabilities, which costs Australians $55 billion dollars annually .
In early stages of the disease, anti-inflammatory drugs are normally prescribed. However, the chronic use of NSAID can produce severe side effects such as Gastritis. In severe cases, the affected joints have to be surgically repaired or even replaced.
Cold laser therapy
Especially in the early stages, cold laser therapy can be a non-drug alternative to using NSAID’s – some papers indicate cold laser can be at least as effective as NSAID’s with no side-effects. Laser works by stimulating cellular processes that lead to a reduction in oxidative stress and thus tissue inflammation. Patients can often feel less pain from the first treatment. Our main clinic is in Castle Hill but Quantum Laser Therapy also offers treatment at Bondi Junction, Rozelle and Potts Point.
- AIHW. Osteoarthritis snapshot. Chronic musculoskeletal conditions 2018 24.07.2018 [cited 2018 12.12.2018]; Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/arthritis-other-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoarthritis/data.
- National Institute of Health. Osteoarthritis. 2018 [cited 2018 10.12.2018]; Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/.
- Farr, I.J., L.E. Miller, and J.E. Block, Quality of Life in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Commentary on Nonsurgical and Surgical Treatments. Open Orthopic Journal, 2013. 7: p. 619-23.
- Williams, C. Pain drain: the economic and social costs of chronic pain. Pain 2015 23.11.2015 [cited 2018 12.12.2018]; Available from: http://theconversation.com/pain-drain-the-economic-and-social-costs-of-chronic-pain-49666.