Laser for Pain

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, affects millions of people worldwide, causing chronic pain, limited mobility, and reduced quality of life. Traditional treatments often provide only temporary relief, and in some cases, surgery may be the last resort. However, in recent years, an innovative and promising treatment has emerged – laser therapy.

Understanding Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, often referred to as OA, is a common type of arthritis that primarily affects the cartilage in the joints. This protective tissue (the articular cartilage) gradually breaks down over time, leading to pain, inflammation, stiffness, and a decreased range of motion. OA can cause bone alterations as the joint cartilage is broken down and unable to protect the bones within joints. The exact mechanism of the degradation of cartilage during OA is currently unclear, but it has to do with the combination of genetic, environmental, metabolic, and biochemical factors. There seems to be an over expression of degrading enzymes; which, results in the loss of collagen and proteoglycans of the matrix. While OA can affect any joint, it most commonly impacts the knees, hips, hands, and spine. It’s often associated with age, but it can also result from injury, obesity, genetics, or joint overuse.

The Quest for Effective Osteoarthritis Treatment

The management of osteoarthritis typically involves a combination of non-pharmacological approaches (such as physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and weight management) and medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief. Physical activity has been shown as an effective, low-cost and accessible treatment for OA, and even may play a crucial role in the prevention of OA. In severe cases of OA, surgical interventions like joint replacement may be necessary.

Many of these treatments come with their own set of limitations and potential side effects. This is where laser therapy enters the picture as an alternative and complementary approach to managing osteoarthritis.

The Promise of Laser Therapy

Laser therapy, also known as photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, involves the use of high-intensity lasers to stimulate tissue repair and reduce inflammation. This non-invasive and painless treatment has shown great promise in alleviating the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and here’s how:

  • Pain Relief: Laser therapy helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which can provide relief from chronic joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Reduced Inflammation: The laser light penetrates the skin and stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation in the affected joints.
  • Improved Blood Flow: Laser therapy increases blood flow to the affected area and stimulates angiogenesis, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and facilitating the removal of waste products from the tissues.
  • Enhanced Cellular Repair: The laser puts energy into the cells and boosts cellular metabolism and repair processes, promoting the healing of damaged cartilage and connective tissues.
  • Minimal Side Effects: Laser therapy is safe and non-invasive, making it an attractive option for those who want to avoid the potential side effects associated with medications or surgery.
High-intensity laser therapy for knee osteoarthritis at Laser For Pain AZ

What Type of Laser Therapy for My OA?

A study we dove into for effects of laser therapy on osteoarthritis compared high-intensity laser therapy (HILT) and low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on knee OA (KOA). This study found that combining either HILT or LLLT with usual KOA rehabilitation exercises resulted in statistically significant improvements in knee pain, physical function, knee-related disability, and functional mobility. Further, when comparing the two therapies, HILT was found to have a significantly higher improvement than that of the LLLT group in knee pain, physical function, and knee-related disability. 


Osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition that significantly impacts the lives of those affected. Laser therapy offers a ray of hope by providing a non-invasive, painless, and effective treatment option. While it may not be a standalone solution for all cases, it can certainly be a valuable addition to the toolkit of osteoarthritis management. As research in this field continues to evolve, laser therapy may become an even more vital component in the fight against this prevalent joint disease.