Osteoarthritis: the risk anti-inflammatory medications pose

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An Australian study in the prestigious BMJ published on 31/3/2015 provides new evidence that paracetamol is no better than placebo for lower back pain and its effect on osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip or knee is too small to be clinically worthwhile, despite being recommended as the first line drug treatment for both conditions.

In their 2017 published review of cardiac arrests in some 29,000 patients over a 10-year year period,  a Danish researchers found that recent use of an NSAID was associated with a 31% increased risk of cardiac arrest. Diclofenac and ibuprofen were associated with a 50% and 31% increased risk, respectively.

Authors of another 2017 BMJ study reviewed the data of 440,000 individuals and noted cardiovascular events with NSAIDs are a significant concern. All NSAIDs, including naproxen, were found to be associated with an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction. This is supported in the Therapeutic Goods of Australia’s latest Medicines Safety Update that states NSAIDs should not be used in patients with cardiovascular disease and should only be used with caution in people with cardiac risk factors, such as smokers, patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, obesity etc.

Low Level Laser Therapy provides excellent relief of the underlying issue which creates pain in joints affected by OA. While LLLT cannot restore the worn down cartilage of such joints, it can reverse the inflammatory reaction that poorly articulating osteoarthritic joints create. This inflammation causes much pain, swelling and dysfunction. Joints suffering OA that are particularly helped by LLLT include neck, low back, knees, fingers, thumbs, ankles and feet.

At Laser Pain Therapy, we have helped patients with OA enjoy resolution of, or significant reduction in pain, and restoration of function following a course of LLLT which is prolonged and lasting. So far it is our experience that such benefits may continue for up to 2 years, precluding the need for pain relieving medications which are now being shown to be ineffective or inadvisable due to systemic side effects and cardiovascular risk as stated by the studies discussed above.

While analgesics (pain killers) such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs provide pain relief, they simply mask pain. In addition NSAIDs carry a significant systemic disease burden in some. Pain masking may be appropriate in some pain conditions. But in OA, LLLT helps to resolve the underlying cause of the pain and obviate the need for drug therapy and its related pitfalls.

South Yarra, Victoria
Suite 8, 200 Toorak Road
(Ground floor from William St)
South Yarra, Vic 3141
Ph: 03 8529 2225
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Map Location

Train: South Yarra Station, 100m, 1 minute walk
Tram: Route 58, stop  no. 127

Easy off-street free parking:
If driving you will find many free 1P and 2P spots on and around Toorak Rd near the clinic.

Our Mission

We are dedicated to helping our patients with the most technically advanced, proven and affordable medical therapies. Our treatment modalities offer evidence-based, safe, non-invasive and painless solutions to improve health, well-being and quality of life.


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