by David Rindge.
Acute pain inadequately treated frequently becomes chronic. Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability. We spent $2.6 trillion on health care in the U.S. in 2010, 75% of it ($1.95 trillion) to “manage” chronic inflammatory conditions. Maybe the reason American health care is so expensive and consumer dissatisfaction so high is that our treatment methods are incorrect.
A growing body of science and clinical experience has shown that energy-based treatments can improve outcomes in chronic pain and also suggests health care costs will be reduced. Low intensity lasers, leds and pulsed electromagnetic fields have well documented properties to move the body through inflammation and heal injury. Applied at the outset, these methods hold promise to prevent many, perhaps most, acute conditions from ever becoming chronic. What would be the potential health and financial benefits for all Americans – and the economy – were these treatments to be broadly implemented and reimbursable by insurance?
“Arthritis or rheumatism” is the #1 cause of disability = 8.6 million people.
“Back or Spine Problems” is the #2 cause of disability = 7.6 million people
16.2 million people
To see what researchers have reported about the effects of low intensity laser, led and pulsed electromagnetic field therapies to improve the underlying pathology in the #1 and #2 causes of disability, click on:
- Laser Therapy Research in Arthritis/Osteoarthritis
- Laser Therapy Research in Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Laser Therapy Research in Back Pain
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Research in Arthritis/Osteoarthritis
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Research in Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy Research in Back Pain
Chronic Pain is the Leading Cause of Disability
Chronic pain affects more than one out of three U.S. citizens (>100 million). Direct costs have been estimated at $100 billion. Yet though over the counter and prescription pain relievers are expensive, these costs, missed work days and the like are trivial compared to the hidden financial burden, pain and suffering born by individuals and society.
Taking care of the disabled is enormously expensive. How expensive? Nobody seems to know exactly. Besides their enormous cost, current methods may do little to address the underlying causes. How much has the high cost of current health care methods contributed to America’s economic tailspin.
Can we do better?
The best possible treatments for pain would address underlying causes, be safe and affordable. Low intensity laser, led and pulsed electromagnetic field therapies have been documented to heal tissue, promote healthy function and to improve the underlying pathology in the #1 and #2 causes of disability. Therapies documented to heal damaged tissue and improve physiological function are also likely to have an endpoint. As such, they hold great promise to improve the way we care for one another – while also lowering costs. In contrast, “managing” chronic pain endlessly with prescription or over the counter medications is hugely expensive and may do little to address the underlying disease process or to improve health.
In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) became law. Since 2014 Americans have been required to buy insurance. Does yours include laser, led and pulsed electromagnetic field therapies?
Energy-Based Treatments Promise to Lower Costs and Improve Quality of Care
As we spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, an average of of $8,402 per person, redistributing expensive methods which have created a seemingly impossible financial burden seems unlikely to this writer to achieve the savings necessary to make the Affordable Care Act viable. By opening to innovation, we can raise the bar in health care, improving quality and making it affordable.
Low level lasers, leds and pulsed electromagnetic fields have properties shown to move the body through inflammation to heal damaged tissue, preventing chronic illness. Even in long-standing disease, these methods can restore function, reduce pain and improve quality of life. How much pain, suffering and money will be spared with the implementation of these methods as first line treatments for pain in health care? What might it mean for the health of all Americans and the economy?
 Bjordal JM, Couppe C, Chow RT, Tuner J, Ljunggren EA, A Systematic Review of Low Level Laser Therapy with Location-Specific Doses for Pain from Chronic Joint Disorders, J Physiother. 2003;49(2):107-16.
[i] From http://www.allbusiness.com/labor-employment/compensation-benefits-wages-salaries/12503910-1.html, True cost of disability is staggering.Colorado Springs Business Journal. June 5, 2009
Copyright 2013-2016 by David Rindge. All rights reserved.