Understanding Inflammatory Arthritis
Updated: Sep 10
Inflammatory arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide, including children. It can manifest in various types, such as rheumatoid factor negative polyarthritis, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the synovial membrane, leading to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can also affect other organs like the skin, eyes, and lungs, and can cause long-term disability and reduced quality of life.
Research on Inflammatory Arthritis
Recent research on inflammatory arthritis was discussed in this episode of the Laser Therapy Institute podcast. The study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in September of 2020 investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms of arthritis in children and adults. The study noted that there are over 150 forms of chronic arthritis in adults and several dozen subtypes in children. The authors identified the different types of inflammatory arthritis and the importance of both early diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term joint damage, disability, and chronic pain associated with the disease.
Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment
Early intervention is crucial for patients with inflammatory arthritis to minimize joint damage and improve their quality of life. Even if a conclusive diagnosis has not been reached, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. For example, systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis—a subtype of the disease—can be challenging to identify due to the presence of systemic inflammatory symptoms in addition to joint inflammation. As such, early intervention is critical to prevent long-term complications.
Traditional Therapies for Inflammatory Arthritis
Methotrexate is the gold-standard therapy for rheumatoid arthritis in children and adults. However, TNF inhibitors are sometimes used in cases where methotrexate is not effective or causes adverse reactions. These traditional therapies can be effective for most patients, but they may cause side effects or not work for everyone.
Laser Therapy as a Promising Alternative Treatment
Laser therapy is a promising alternative treatment option for inflammatory arthritis. It works by reducing inflammation and pain associated with the disease. Photobiomodulation, or laser therapy, can stimulate the production of ATP, which provides energy to the cells and reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which contribute to the inflammation and pain associated with the disease.
For successful laser therapy, the right color of light (wavelength), pulse rate (frequency at which the light is flashed), dosing, and treatment schedule are crucial. Photobiomodulation can gently modulate the balance between the Treg and TH17 levels, which regulates the inflammatory process. Photobiomodulation improves the macrophages and lymphocyte activity, decreases the level of immune complexes, and regulates the level of immunoglobulins. In the inflammatory phase of rheumatoid arthritis, photobiomodulation has shown to reduce inflammation and pain by playing multiple roles, such as improving blood circulation and activation of microcirculation, enhancing collagen synthesis, promoting tissue regeneration, influencing skin receptors with the increase of pain threshold, improving nerve conductivity, and stimulating acupuncture-point, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, and antiseptic effects.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive and painless treatment option that can be used in combination with traditional therapies or as a stand-alone treatment. It has shown to reduce inflammation and pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
Inflammatory arthritis is a complex and challenging disease that requires early diagnosis and treatment to prevent long-term complications. While traditional therapies such as methotrexate and TNF inhibitors are effective for many patients, laser therapy is a promising alternative treatment option that can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with the disease.
Staying up-to-date on the latest research and treatment options can help healthcare providers better serve their patients and improve outcomes for those living with this complex condition. If you are a patient interested in learning more about laser therapy and its potential benefits, check out our other podcast, Healing at the Speed of Light. Healthcare providers interested in incorporating laser therapy into their practice can become a certified LTI clinic and explore the courses and resources available on our website.
At Laser Therapy Institute, we are committed to providing the latest information and resources on photobiomodulation and its application. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you manage this complex condition with laser therapy.