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Does red light therapy work on neuropathy pain?

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a complex and often painful condition affecting millions of people. Medications mask the symptoms but come with risks and side effects. New hope emerges with red light therapy. This innovative treatment uses wavelengths of light to heal damaged nerves and naturally ease neuropathic pain. Extensive research confirms red light therapy safely reduces nerve pain and discomfort without medications or side effects. Read on to learn how it works and why red light therapy provides a promising option for neuropathy relief.

red light therapy neuropathy

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is characterized by damage to the peripheral nerves that transmit signals between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body. While the specific symptoms depend on the nerves affected, neuropathic pain is often described as shooting, stabbing, burning, tingling, or electric shock-like in nature. The pain may be constant or intermittent and can range from mild to excruciating in severity.

This chronic nerve pain stems from the nerves misfiring and becoming hypersensitive. Normal sensations and stimuli like touching something soft or a light breeze can trigger severe pain signals. Imagine your nerves overreacting to the slightest stimuli as if stuck in a permanent state of agony.

In addition to chronic pain, those with neuropathy can experience:

  • Numbness or reduced sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Balance issues
  • Digestive problems
  • Bladder problems
  • Sleep disruptions

Coping with unrelenting neuropathic pain and related symptoms often takes an enormous physical and emotional toll. It can greatly interfere with work, activities, relationships, and overall wellbeing.

Cause of neuropathy

There are over 100 types of neuropathy with a variety of potential causes including:

  • Diabetes – High blood sugar from diabetes can injure nerves over time. Diabetic neuropathy is the most common form.
  • Autoimmune diseases – Diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation that damages nerves.
  • Infections – Viruses and bacteria like shingles, HIV, Lyme disease can injure nerves.
  • Toxins – Exposure to certain toxins like chemotherapy, radiation, and heavy metals can damage nerves.
  • Injuries – Trauma from accidents, fractures, and compression can directly harm nerves.
  • Inherited disorders – Some neuropathies are passed down genetically.
  • Unknown causes – For some neuropathies, the cause is unknown or idiopathic.

No matter the cause, the common factor is damage to the nerves that disrupts normal signaling and function, leading to chronic neuropathic pain and other debilitating symptoms.

The Limitations of Traditional Neuropathic Pain Treatment

Given the immense suffering associated with neuropathy, finding an effective treatment is imperative. But for many, satisfactory pain relief remains elusive.

Common first line treatments include over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. But these only mask the pain temporarily and come with side effects like stomach ulcers, bleeding, addiction, and potential organ damage.

Anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants may reduce pain signals, but can cause fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, and confusion.

Capsaicin creams can relieve mild pain temporarily, but often burn or irritate the skin. Steroid injections block inflammation short-term but weaken tissues long-term.

Surgery may help some cases of compressed nerves but is highly invasive and not a cure. What many neuropathy sufferers want is a safe, natural way to relieve their constant pain without harsh medications or side effects.

What is red light therapy?

Fortunately, red light therapy now provides a promising natural option for calming neuropathic nerve pain and improving nerve function. Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), uses LEDs that emit therapeutic wavelengths of visible red light and invisible near-infrared light. Think of it as using light energy to gently heal and restore normal nerve function. The red and near infrared light photons enter through the skin and are absorbed by cells. This activates natural processes and increases ATP (energy) production, blood flow, and nerve cell signaling while decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation – all of which helps relieve neuropathic pain.

What is red light therapy?

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How does Red Light Therapy work for Neuropathy Pain?

Increases Cellular Energy: The light photons stimulate mitochondria, the energy factories in cells, to produce more ATP. This powers cells and nerves so they can function properly and heal.

Boosts Blood Flow: The light dilates blood vessels and circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to stimulate tissue repair. Better nerve blood flow also alleviates pain.

Reduces Inflammation: The light reduces inflammatory cytokines and free radicals from oxidative damage. This alleviates swelling, irritation, and discomfort affecting nerves.

Eases Nerve Pain Signaling: By improving nerve cell energy metabolism and conduction, red light calms overactive, misfiring pain signals.

Promotes Nerve Repair and Growth: By increasing growth factors and supportive cells, red light therapy encourages nerve regeneration and better function.

Enhances Tissue Healing: The light boosts collagen production and accelerates healing from injuries or compression related to neuropathy.

Improves Nerve Sensitivity: Red light therapy can restore tactile sensitivity and sensations like touch that are often diminished with neuropathy.

Relieves Tight Muscles: The light also relaxes contracted, spasmed muscles that often accompany and aggravate neuropathic pain.

Does red light therapy work on neuropathy pain?

Extensive medical research, including randomized controlled trials, verify red light therapy’s effectiveness and safety for relieving neuropathic pain and improving nerve function:

– A 2012 study showed that infrared light energy can treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy by reducing pain, improving sensation and enhancing balance.[1]

– A 2017 6-week randomized pilot study concluded that red light therapy significantly reduced neuropathy symptoms significantly.[2]

– Another randomized trial in 2019 found that red light therapy significantly reduced pain and improved quality of life in elderly patients with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. After a 12-week intervention period in the study, patients who received phototherapy showed significant improvements in quality of life.[3]

Does red light therapy work on neuropathy pain?

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Why Choose Red Light Therapy for Neuropathy Pain?

Red light therapy holds distinct advantages over medications and other options that make it particularly well suited for treating neuropathic pain:

No side effects – It avoids the risks and side effects common with pain drugs, anti-seizure meds, steroids, and other neuropathy treatments. It’s very well tolerated.

Faster Results – You can start experiencing less pain and improved sensation within a few treatments versus waiting weeks or months for other options to take effect.

Convenient – After an initial purchase, you can use red light therapy anytime at home. No frequent doctor visits or prescription refills.

Cost-effective – Using red light panels over months and years is more affordable long-term than many prescription drugs, copays, doctor bills, and other treatments.

Holistic Healing – Rather than just masking symptoms, red light therapy aims to heal and restore normal nerve function for lasting improvement and relief. The light energy regenerates nerves and tissues at the cellular level.

Whole body capability – Large red light therapy panels can simultaneously deliver pain relief to the feet, legs, arms and hands versus localized treatments. This better accommodates systemic neuropathies that affect extensive areas.


If you or someone you love suffers from chronic neuropathic pain or other nerve dysfunction, we understand the immense frustration and despair you can feel. While not a cure-all, red light therapy is demonstrating profound promise as a natural neuropathy treatment option. At the very least, it deserves an opportunity. The light could very well brighten your world by turning down your neuropathic pain so you can start truly living again. We wish you all the very best in your journey toward relief.



[1]Tarek A. Ammar. Monochromatic Infrared Photo Energy in Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Volume 2012 |Article ID 484307.

[2]Peter A. Argenta, Karla V. Ballman, Melissa A. Geller, Linda F. Carson, Rahel Ghebre, Sally A. Mullany, Deanna G. K. Teoh, Boris J. N. Winterhoff, Colleen L. Rivard, Britt K. Erickson. The effect of photobiomodulation on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial. – Gynecol Oncol. 2017 Jan;144(1):159-166.

[3]Prasun Chatterjee, Achal K. Srivastava, Deepa A. Kumar, Avinash Chakravarty, Maroof A. Khan, Akash K. Ambashtha, Vijay Kumar, Luis De Taboada, Aparajit B. Dey. Effect of deep tissue laser therapy treatment on peripheral neuropathic pain in older adults with type 2 diabetes: a pilot randomized clinical trial. – BMC Geriatr. 2019 Aug 12;19(1):218.

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