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Can osteoarthritis be treated with light?


Great news for elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee! this article discusses the potential benefits of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. The authors highlight that current treatments for osteoarthritis, such as analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), come with significant risks of adverse effects. LLLT, on the other hand, is a promising alternative approach that has shown therapeutic efficacy in osteoarthritis without known side effects.


The study mentioned in the article used a rat model of osteoarthritis induced by injecting the enzyme papain into the rat knee joint. The researchers applied LLLT using a near-infrared laser to the knee and observed significant reductions in inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory cytokines after 24 hours. They found that a lower laser power was more effective than a higher power. However, the article emphasizes that more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.


LLLT is a rapidly growing alternative therapy that uses red or near-infrared photons to stimulate cellular processes involved in healing and pain relief. Numerous studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of LLLT, including reductions in inflammatory cell infiltration and inflammatory cytokines in various conditions. However, the literature on LLLT in osteoarthritis remains inconclusive, with conflicting results from different studies and reviews.


The authors argue that further research, including animal studies, clinical trials, and systematic reviews, is necessary to establish LLLT as a valid therapy for osteoarthritis. They also mention that LLLT may have additional benefits, such as reducing pain transmission and activating endogenous opioid receptors.


In conclusion, the article suggests that LLLT holds promise as a safe and effective therapy for osteoarthritis. However, more research is required to determine its full potential and establish its effectiveness in clinical settings.


Acknowledgments

Research in the author’s laboratory is supported by National Institutes of Health grant R01AI050875.



Link: https://arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/ar4354