Joint pain is an unfortunate and common affliction that affects millions of people worldwide. From young athletes to elderly grandparents, joint discomfort can negatively impact quality of life. While pain medications provide temporary relief, they come with side effects and don’t treat the underlying cause. Recently, light therapy has emerged as a safe and effective option for treating joint pain. But does it really work? And if so, what’s the science behind it? Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about using light therapy to relief joint pain.
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Introduction to Joint Pain
Before we dive into whether light therapy can help, let’s quickly go over what exactly causes joint pain.
The most common causes of joint pain include:
- Arthritis: This occurs when the cartilage protecting the joints breaks down from injury, aging, or autoimmune conditions. The bones then rub together causing inflammation, swelling, and stiffness. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most prevalent types.
- Injuries: Trauma from accidents, falls, or sports can damage structures like ligaments, tendons, and bones. Fractures within or near joints often lead to lasting pain.
- Overuse: Repeated physical activity overworks the joints and doesn’t give them time to recover. This progressively damages the cartilage and leads to degenerative diseases like tendinitis.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts added stress and strain on weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees, and feet. This speeds up joint deterioration and inflammation.
- Autoimmune Diseases: Disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis cause the immune system to attack healthy cells, including those in joint tissue, leading to damage.
No matter the cause, the end result is inflammation, stiffness, swelling, tenderness, and reduced mobility. The pain can range from mild to completely debilitating. Often, it starts in just one joint but progressively spreads to multiple areas over time.
Conventional medical treatments like NSAIDs, steroids, hyaluronic acid injections, and joint replacement surgery mainly just manage symptoms. They don’t address what’s actually causing the cartilage breakdown in the first place. But light therapy actually relieves inflammation at the source.
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what is Light Therapy?
Light therapy, also called photobiomodulation, uses light energy to trigger natural healing processes in the body. Specific wavelengths of light interact with cells to reduce inflammation, speed tissue repair, decrease pain signals, and improve circulation.
While sunlight provides some therapeutic benefits, light therapy devices allow you to deliver concentrated doses of certain wavelengths directly to the joints to target treatment. They’re non-invasive, drug-free, and come with virtually no side effects when used as directed.
Let’s look specifically at how light therapy can improve some of the root causes of joint pain for more lasting relief.
How Does Light Therapy Reduce Joint Pain works?
The key benefit of light therapy is that it delivers healing light energy directly into the painful joint to treat the underlying condition and not just the symptoms. Here are some of its most researched effects on joint structures:
Inflammation is the main cause of joint pain and damage. Near infrared light can significantly reduce inflammatory cytokines like IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α. It also lowers inflammatory enzymes like COX-2. This provides immediate relief while also slowing disease progression.
Stimulates Tissue Growth
The loss of smooth, slippery cartilage is what leads to painful bone-on-bone friction. Near infrared light stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen and regenerate cartilage and synovial tissue. Infrared light combined with red light also accelerates growth of stem cells that help repair joint tissue.
Better blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to joint tissues to aid healing. It also removes inflammatory waste products. Light boosts microcirculation and creates new capillaries.
Blocks Pain Signals
Light energy can reduce painful nerve signals in several ways. It decreases oxidative stress, increases natural painkilling chemicals like endorphins, stabilizes nerve cell membranes, and modulates pain signals.
Speeds Injury Healing
The light stimulates cells called fibroblasts to proliferate and lay down collagen to quickly heal damaged ligaments, tendons, and bones after an injury or surgery.
Regular light therapy allows you to tackle joint pain at its origin instead of just covering up the symptoms temporarily. Next, let’s look at which wavelengths work best.
Source: The picture comes from the Internet
Best Wavelengths for Light Therapy to Reduce Joint Pain
The specific wavelengths of light are a key factor in how well light therapy works.
Studies confirm that certain colors of light have superior anti-inflammatory and tissue repairing powers. Here are the best wavelengths for joint therapy:
- 660 nm: This intense red light penetrates tissue deeply to relieve chronic joint and arthritic pain. It also reduces inflammation and swelling.
- 850 nm: Near-infrared light in the 800-900nm range has been shown to heal cartilage and bone. It also decreases inflammation and discomfort.
- 905 nm: Specifically, 905nm LEDs have been found to reduce osteoarthritis pain by over 60%. The light repairs cartilage while lowering joint inflammation.
- 1060 nm: Far infrared frequencies like 1060nm improve circulation and blood flow around damaged joints. This speeds healing.
So when shopping for a light therapy device, look for these wavelengths. The combination of red, near-infrared and infrared light provides full, penetrating joint therapy. The best results are typically seen with a combination of red and near infrared light.
What Types of Joint Pain Can Light Therapy Treat?
Because light therapy addresses so many facets of joint damage, it has been proven effective at treating all the most common forms of joint pain including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sprains and strains
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Post-surgical joint pain
It’s safe and effective for all age groups too. Many research studies have even focused specifically on using light therapy for arthritis pain in older adults with great success. Next, let’s review some of the evidence confirming light therapy really does work for joint pain.
Research Proven That Light therapy for Joint Pain
Multiple studies validate the effectiveness of light therapy for relieving joint problems. Some of the most well-studied light therapy treatments include:
Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of light therapy in relieving joint problems. Some of the most well-studied light therapies include:
A 2013 paper published stated that red light therapy reduces inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins released by cells involved in communicating pain signals in the body. Therefore, reducing inflammatory cytokines may lead to reduced perception of pain.
A 2016 study found that red light therapy was a safe and effective treatment for reducing pain and swelling and increasing joint mobility in patients with Heberden’s and Bourchard’s OA.
A 2017 study found that red light helped increase cartilage regeneration and thickness and reduce osteoarthritis pain. After 8 weeks of light therapy, researchers found a significant difference in pain relief and improvement in cartilage thickness.
In another trial that same year, red light therapy was also shown to help increase synovial and femoral cartilage thickness.
Is Light Therapy Safe?
Light therapy using red and near infrared wavelengths within appropriate dosage ranges is very safe with minimal side effects. Unlike medications or surgery, light therapy does not damage joint tissues. The only side effect reported in some studies is a slight heating sensation over the area being treated. No long-term negative effects have been reported.
Phototoxicity is only a concern with ultraviolet wavelengths, which are NOT used in red/near infrared light therapy devices. The visible red and infrared wavelengths used for joint pain are longer and safer. It’s also nearly impossible to overdose on red/near infrared light therapy since your body will absorb the amount it needs and reflect any excess. Healthy cells are not damaged by the light energy.
Talk to your doctor before beginning light therapy if you take any photosensitive medications or have any conditions that may be light-sensitive. Overall, light therapy presents an extremely low risk option compared to many joint pain medications and surgeries.
How to Use Light Therapy device to Reduce Joint Pain?
Here are some tips to use your light therapy device correctly for maximum joint pain relief:
- Choose the right device: Make sure it emits infrared and red wavelengths at an adequate intensity and power density.
- Adjust Distance: Place LED panel 1-4 inches away from skin depending on joint location. Avoid direct eye exposure.
- 8-20 Minutes: Most experts recommend 8-20 minute treatment times depending on condition severity. Start with short sessions.
- Multiple Angles: For larger joints, rotate the device around area to distribute light penetration.
- Daily Use: Using light 2-3 times per day provides cumulative anti-inflammatory effects.
- Track Progress: Note pain levels before and after each treatment to gauge effectiveness.
- Be Patient: It can take a few weeks to experience the full benefits as your cells heal. Stick with it!
Reasons for Choosing RedDot LED Devices
If you’re considering purchasing a light therapy device to relieve your joint pain at home, the RedDot LED device offers superior technology. Here are reasons why RedDot is the top choice for treating joint pain at home:
- Wavelength Combinations: RedDot panels simultaneously deliver therapeutic red 660nm and near infrared 850nm light for optimal synergy.
- FDA Certified: RedDot is FDA-certified to provide users with quality assurance and safety testing.
- 3 Year Warranty: Guaranteed quality product.
- Timer: Choose devices with automatic timers for your condition.
Give your joints the healing power of light with RedDot Wellness! Visit RedDot LED today to explore their pain-busting product line. You deserve to live pain-free and get back to an active lifestyle.
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