Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert here at Top Local, producer of The Evolution Wellness Laser podcast and video series. And we’re here with Dr Harold Meinzer of Evolution Wellness in Vancouver and North Langley. Good morning, Dr, Harold.

Dr Harold: Good morning, Mark. Thanks for having me again.

Mark: So we’re talking about hand osteoarthritis today. I’m sure you see a lot of folks with these kinds of problems.

Dr Harold: Yeah, osteoarthritis is really prevalent in, in our community, especially with the baby boomers. As we’re getting to see more and more of those bell curve changing and those people are showing up in the office. Osteoarthritis is really just wear and tear. And that’s what we all do throughout our lifetime. And it’s sort of like, I kind of like osteoarthritis, unlike most medical doctors. When I hear it, I get excited. Most medical doctors get afraid of it. I like arthritis. Tendonitis, bursitis. I love all those itises because I like treating them with the laser, obviously. And so the way I kind of explain the osteoarthritis is that the cartilage between the joint is worn down, and that causes the bones to rub together, and without a cushion in between there, then that causes some problems, right? Like inflammation, then you get stiffness, you get pain, you get decreased range of motion into there. Decreased mobility. Pain, right? That’s all pain, pain, pain driven.

Mark: So how’s it typically treated at the doctor?

Dr Harold: Well, traditional treatment, because it’s a chronic condition, usually they love the over the counter anti inflammatories or even corticosteroids. So those will be the go-to. And then I think you can also add in with traditional treatment, that would be exercise, range of motion, some stretching, trying to maintain mobility within that joint structure. And I also would include the include diet in that, as well. An anti-inflammatory diet, high in fruits and veggies. That would be very good to reduce some of the symptoms into that joint.

Mark: And the cause of it other than the cartilage wearing away, what is osteoarthritis?

Dr Harold: I call it overuse and abuse. So if we overuse a joint, we only have so much mobility into it and we never take care of it. So if you’re doing a repetitive task over and over and over and over again over 20, 30 years, then you can wear out that joint. Or the good example would be like the professional football player that plays in the NFL for 10 years, and when you x-ray them, you know they’re 30 years old, but their joints look like they’re 65 just because of all the collisions in the abuse that they’ve taken. Old injuries, that’s for sure. That would be like the athlete, and old fractures or car accidents or falls or spills can set in motion, over a long period of time, these degenerative changes into the joint.

Mark: And the laser helps how?

Dr Harold: I like to think of the laser as part of a treatment, meaning that you’re not going to cure the osteoarthritis. If anything, we’re just going to try to manage it, meaning pain management and mobility management. So if we can get patients to reduce the medication that they’re taking because the laser’s affecting the joint in that way, meaning that it’s an anti-inflammatory into that joint area, then I think we’re making headway. It’s just better for the body. It’s easier on liver and kidney, and it’s less taxing to the body. It’s noninvasive. And so it’s a pain management tool is the way I would view it.

Mark: Yeah. 40 years of taking anti-inflammatories is going to have some pretty bad side effects, I would guess.

Dr Harold: Yeah, absolutely. So we want to limit what we’re putting internally into our body. And if we can do something that’s noninvasive, and I always like to do the most conservative care and noninvasive first until you run out and it’s not effective anymore, rather than doing more invasive things. In my mind, the laser is probably the least invasive thing that you can do into your system. Because once you start taking those pharmaceuticals, then that has an effect on your system.

Mark: So what’s your treatment protocol for hand arthritis using the laser?

Dr Harold: The hand is actually really quick to treat, because again, surface isn’t very dense. Most of the joints are very close to the surface so we can get good penetration in and around those joints. And for a typical hand, we would probably do a followup visit of only 10 minutes and we’re just applying the laser over top of all those joints that are achy and sore. And if it’s a couple of fingers, we’d probably include the rest of the hand and wrist just to influence the blood supply to have a bigger change.

Mark: Have you noticed any results? Like I know sometimes people’s fingers, and I’m not sure if this is osteo or not, arthritis, people’s fingers start to get deformed as the body tries to deal with the pain, I guess. Have you noticed any results with limiting that or starting to slow that down, that process?

Dr Harold: Yeah, that’s a great observation because as that joint degrades and the cushion’s gone, then the bone on bone wear, your body starts sort of trying to cement it together. So then you get more bony growth and then the joint becomes deformed. Certain other arthritic conditions can really have, like rheumatoid and other ones systemically can push the fingers in all different directions. That’s a little bit different than what we’re talking about today. But the osteoarthritis would be the wear of it and then your body laying down bone to try to almost cement it together. So then it really will limit the amount of joint mobility. So with the laser, the two things that we can get at best would be pain reduction in there and then just slowing down that process. Just trying to slow down the process of your body trying to basically kind of cement you together.

Mark: So there you go. If you need some osteoarthritis … Well, what about other parts of the body? Hand is one thing. What about the rest of the body? I mean there’s a lot of other parts that have arthritis.

Dr Harold: Yeah, absolutely. And the hand would be just like a gateway to talk about the rest of the body because a joint is really a joint. And so once that cartilage is worn down between it, whether it’s your cervical spine, your elbow, your knees, it’s the same kind of treatment protocol. Like we’re going to use the laser to reduce that, inflammation-wise, and try to create mobility into that area. So yeah, the same principles apply to all the other joints in your body, whether it’s your feet, knees, shoulders, we’ll treat them all here at the clinic.

Mark: So there you go. If you have osteoarthritis and you want some pain relief, the guys to see are Evolution Wellness, you can reach them at (604) 881-2404 to book an appointment either at their Vancouver office or in North Langley, and you have to call ahead and book because they’re busy. He’s got a lot of patients to see for doing this kind of treatment. And it works extremely well. As a practitioner of getting treatment myself, it’s an awesome, beneficial, easy to do treatment. Thank you, Dr Harold.

Dr Harold: Thanks, Mark. Have a great day.