Rheumatoid arthritis is a destructive process on bones and joints. It slowly destroys ligaments, cartilage, and bones inside joints, especially in the hands. Most people are familiar looking at hands with enlarged knuckles that angle toward the side. People with rheumatoid arthritis have difficulty using their hands for everyday activities because of the pain and limitation. Opening a bottle or buttoning a button become painful and impossible tasks.
Rheumatoid arthritis pain is often treated with prescription and over the counter medication to control pain and inflammation. Another treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis pain is cold laser therapy treatment by a class IV laser. The laser sends a specific high energy frequency and wavelength into the affected hand joints. The wavelengths trigger actions inside cells to reduce pain.
The energy from the lasers triggers mitochondria inside cells to create more ATP. ATP is the cells gasoline or energy sources. Cells that are chronically injured have reduced amounts of ATP, which negatively affects their ability to heal and repair. Increasing ATP production causes the cells to have more ATP available for repair and healing. The cell gets a chance to “catch up” to the damage. Additionally, laser therapy increases blood flow to the hands. More blood flow increases nutrients available to the cells to help with repair and healing.
Laser therapy also decreases the amount of inflammatory molecules around the hands and joints. Cellular damage produces molecules of inflammation the limit cellular function and make the area more tender to the touch. By reducing the molecules the joints are less tender and sore with movements.
Several studies have shown a reduction in hand pain after 6 visits involving cold laser therapy. These patients had improved pain free motion, which meant they could do more normal activities with less pain.
We have seen that same effect inside the office. Several people with severe hand rheumatoid arthritis had improved symptoms after laser treatment. They had less stiffness and daily dull pain. The amount of sharp pain was decreased and occurred less often. They found themselves doing more of the things they enjoyed because their hands did not hurt.
You can learn more about laser therapy for rheumatoid arthritis pain on our laser page. If you would like to see if laser therapy could help your hand pain, please contact us for a free evaluation.