Red and Near Infrared Light Proven to Reduce Joint Pain and Alleviate Arthritis
Most people have heard of arthritis or have a family member that’s dealt with its debilitating effects. But few people understand the specifics of this disease, such as the different forms it can take, the signs and symptoms, and the many ways to treat or manage it.
You might be familiar with the two main types of arthritis, which include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But arthritis and related joint problems can present in over 100 different ways, all of which affect over 50 million adults. Arthritis is actually America’s top reason for disability, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
The main difference between the various types of arthritis is the way in which the condition starts, but most forms of arthritis lead to similar symptoms—namely joints that are painful, swollen, and stiff. These symptoms are more severe for some people than others, and they can linger for long periods of time or flare up in random, temporary spurts. But eventually, arthritis will reduce a person’s overall level of joint and body movement, which can negatively impact their quality of life.
Some forms of arthritis can go into remission if the person keeps up with medical treatments and lifestyle recommendations. However, traditional medicine offers no cure for arthritis. The best hope is usually to manage the disease via treatments like medication and surgery. In some cases, doctors may also recommend natural treatments such as vitamins, minerals and herbs, massage, electrical stimulation, and hot and cold therapy.
But most people—even those experimenting with alternative treatments for arthritis—may not be aware that red and near infrared light therapy—also called photobiomodulation, or PBM—has been studied extensively and found to be effective for improving multiple forms of arthritis in various parts of the body. In fact, according to these studies, PBM even shows promise in physically changing the condition of the joints—for the better!
Vast Amount of Clinical Research Shows Benefits of Light Therapy for Arthritis and Overall Joint Health
Light therapy has been studied extensively since the early 90’s, when it was first introduced as an alternative treatment method for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. And even though red and near infrared light therapy still isn't considered a standard treatment option for arthritis, countless clinical studies have supported its use for this disease, and researchers have recommended it as an effective form of treatment.
PBM works by targeting the cellular origins of arthritis. It helps this disease the same way it helps other conditions—cells absorb wavelengths in the red and near infrared range and convert that light into cellular energy, which enables them to function at a higher capacity. In other posts, we cover the mechanism of action of light therapy in much greater detail. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the published clinical literature that supports how PBM reduces the symptoms of arthritis, including pain, swelling, and stiffness.
In 2000, a systematic review in The Journal of Rheumatology set out to see just how effective light therapy could be for arthritis. This review found significant results across thirteen randomized controlled trials:
The best results were demonstrated in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, with light therapy reducing participants’ pain by 70 percent compared to the placebo.
Also, light therapy reduced morning stiffness in participants by 27.5 minutes, and significantly increased hand flexibility.
The researchers concluded that PBM should be considered for the relief of pain and morning stiffness, especially since it has few side effects.
PBM has also been shown to improve other symptoms of arthritis, as documented in a 2012 study in Clinical Rehabilitation. Participants in this study who received light therapy along with exercise showed significant improvements for many variables—including pain, functionality, and range of motion, when compared to placebo treatment.
Other studies support the use of PBM for improved joint health. A systematic review in Lasers in Medical Science found that light therapy plus ultrasound showed strong results for treating hand osteoarthritis in women, with a major decline in pain. This meta-analysis also documented extensive, positive results for the use of light therapy for arthritis in the knees, neck, back, jaw, and other areas.
And it turns out that PBM can improve general joint problems not related to arthritis. A 2003 systematic review in The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy looked at 11 clinical trials of light therapy for chronic joint disorders in the knee. Across all of these studies, light therapy reduced pain while improving overall joint function.
Conclusion: Overwhelming Clinical Evidence Supports Light Therapy as an Effective Treatment for Arthritis and Joint Pain
As you can see, there’s strong evidence supporting the use of light therapy at red and near infrared wavelengths for reducing symptoms of arthritis and improving overall joint health. The aforementioned studies are just a sample of the wide body of clinical research that documents positive results when using light therapy for joint pain and relief from arthritis.
But as noted before, it’s imperative to use a light therapy device that delivers the right wavelengths with optimal power levels. The Our boutique offers the most researched, clinical grade red-light therapy!