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Arthritis: Can lasers provide life-long relief?

Published On: Aug 23 2012 02:03:35 PM CDT
Elderly hands

(NewsUSA) - Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which joint cartilage wears away over time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-third of American adults suffer from chronic arthritis.

The pain of osteoarthritis affects not only Americans' joints, but also their wallets. Thirty-three percent of American workers report that arthritis interferes with their ability to perform their job. In 2007, treating arthritis cost $128 billion -- $81 billion in direct expenses, like medical costs, and another $47 billion in lost wages and other indirect costs.

"The pain comes and goes, prevents sleep, makes walking difficult, causes you to drop or spill things, and renders you unable to sign your name or write," writes Dr. Larry Lytle in his book, "Universal Healer: Osteoarthritis." "In short, it is the most common form of disability."

Osteoarthritis cannot currently be cured, but effective non-drug treatments can safely improve the quality of life of millions of people. For example, the FDA has recently approved a low-level laser treatment for treating osteoarthritis in the hands.

The laser helps the body reduce pain by stimulating the release of endorphins (the body's natural painkillers), while also helping the body reduce inflammation, increase circulation, help heal damaged cell membranes and boost cellular energy levels, resulting in less pain and faster healing.

Keeping a device like the laser at home can help people address their osteoarthritis without turning to costly medical treatments or dangerous drugs.