Laser therapy for osteoarthritis

There are many conditions in geriatric patients for which laser therapy would be advantageous, but the most common one is certainly osteoarthritis. This condition often leads to a maladaptive pain scenario, and other physical issues due to compensation, all of which should be managed in order to achieve the best results for the patient.

Effectively managing pain with a multimodal approach, including laser therapy along with pharmacologic and nutraceutical interventions when possible, is best implemented prior to, or alongside, physical modalities such as rehabilitation.

Therapeutic laser works by the mechanism of photobiomodulation, and has several beneficial effects in decreasing inflammation and pain. The ability to safely utilize laser therapy alongside other standard-of-care treatment options for geriatric pets makes it an ideal tool in managing pain. In some situations, laser may even reduce the need for certain medications.

As always, a complete orthopedic and neurologic examination should be performed prior to laser therapy. All areas of pain and discomfort should be identified and continually reassessed so that effective management of the patient’s pain and physical issues may be addressed. The use of objective pain scoring is encouraged.

Geriatric patients respond well to laser for osteoarthritis and should be positioned in such a way that they are comfortable during treatment, whether recumbent on a padded mat or soft bedding, or standing on a non-slip surface. Often, patients will relax or even sleep during treatment.