The Promise of Energy-based Therapies in Pain

 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.   The good news is that by adopting new and better methods for treating inflammation promises to improve the quality of health care substantially while reaping enormous cost savings.   

Energy-based treatments have properties shown 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:

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[1]. 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 appear to 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. Such methods 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 improve the condition.

In 2010 the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) became law.  In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld it. It’s 2014, and virtually all Americans are now required to buy insurance.  What treatments should that insurance provide?

Energy-based interventions promise to: 

  1. Prevent chronic disease, especially when applied at the outset.
  2. Significantly improve or resolve many longstanding conditions.
  3. Ensure endpoints of therapy vs. expensive ongoing “management”.
  4. Improve safety, lower costs.
  5. Increase overall health, quality of life and reduce health care costs for consumers, insurors and providers.

We spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010, an average of of $8,402 per person in the US.  Will redistributing standard practice create the necessary savings to make the Affordable Care Act work?   By opening to innovation, we can raise the bar in health care, improving quality and making it affordable once again.

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 may restore function, reduce pain and improve quality of life.

How much pain, suffering and money will be spared with the integration of these methods as first line treatments for pain? What would opening our minds mean for the health of all Americans and our economy?    Low level laser, led and pulsed electromagnetic field therapies are available here and now and promise to improve outcomes and safety while lowering costs. Do we want health care by design – or by default? 

 [1] 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, True cost of disability is staggering.Colorado Springs Business Journal. June 5, 2009

Copyright 2013 by David Rindge. All rights reserved.