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Can Photobiomodulation Help with Osteoarthritis?

Colin Cook

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in the joints breaks down. Half of the American population experiences some form of this condition at some time in their lives. It affects 80% of people over 75. If you have stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning, or painful and swollen joints, particularly after activity, you may need help with osteoarthritis.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. All you can do is manage its symptoms or surgically replace the affected joint. If you need help with osteoarthritis, the Arthritis Foundation advises you to

    • improve joint mobility and flexibility with stretching
    • maintain a healthy weight so you don’t stress your joints
    • get enough exercise.

As far as the last point goes, if you’ve ever tried to exercise when you’re in pain, you know how difficult that can be. You have far more motivation to exercise if you get some relief for the pain first. What about medications, such as analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)? Medications can help with osteoarthritis, but they come with their own problems, including side effects, some of which can be dangerous.

An emerging alternative is photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, formerly known as low-level laser therapy. PBM Therapy consists of specific wavelengths of light delivered to your entire body while you lie in the PBM bed. It takes as little as 10-12 minutes. Users experience a decrease in pain as well as relaxation of muscle spasms. PBM seems to achieve this by relieving oxidative stress at the cellular level, which means it reduces inflammation. There are currently over 400 clinical trials and 4000 laboratory studies on PBM Therapy, with 30 new research papers a month being reported on Pub Med. For an overview of how it works, see our video. If PBM can alleviate some of your pain, you’ll be in a better state, both physically and mentally, to get the exercise you need in order to help with osteoarthritis. PBM is non-toxic and non-invasive, and it has no side effects. It is, in other words, safer than medication, either prescription or over the counter.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, so we can’t offer you one. But if you need help with osteoarthritis, we may be able to help with the pain relief that will allow you to engage in the exercise recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Book a PBM visit at Peak Recovery and Health Center today. Come in and spend 10-12 minutes in the PBM bed, then go for a walk, or maybe even a run.

The illustration is Osteoarthritis in the hip by Injurymap. (Creative Commons license.)