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Red Light Therapy Proven To Reduce Joint Pain & Help Arthritis

Red Light Therapy Proven To Reduce Joint Pain & Help Arthritis

Red Light Therapy For Joint Pain


More than 50 million American adults are arthritic or have other issues associated with the joint. Studies have shown that arthritic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Usually, medications and surgery are the major options in managing arthritis.

This article aims to look deeper into the effect of red light therapy – otherwise known as photobiomodulation or PMB – in the management of arthritis. A number of studies were conducted to find out whether red or near-infrared light could reduce joint pain and improve the function and activity of arthritic patients. The results were positive and there are more researches of this kind being done annually. A summary of the findings from these studies is provided below.


Arthritis In America


There are various etiologies of arthritis. However, the signs are consistent across all forms of arthritis. Pain and inflammation are the more common ones. Others include joint stiffness and limitation in joint movement. These signs result in a reduction in the quality of life and function. [1].

The symptoms of some arthritic forms reduce over time, especially when the patient is regular on medications and adhere to certain lifestyle changes. Traditional medicine is not a curative solution. However, pharmaceuticals and surgery are the best options for the medical management of arthritis. The physician may also advise the patient to seek alternative treatments options such as electrical stimulation, massage, thermotherapy, and herbal therapy.

There is an enormous amount of literature demonstrating that red or near infrared light significantly reduces arthritic symptoms such as joint inflammation and pain. This is achieved by focusing on the cellular background of this debilitating condition.


 What Is Red Light Therapy?


For persons who have no idea about red light therapy, this piece of writing briefly outlines its description and how it works. Light therapy is characterized by its non-invasiveness and biological state. Devices such as Infraredi emits a safe and concentrated dose of natural light which reduces oxidative stress and enhances ATP production when it comes in contact with the skin and cells below it. Consequently, cell regeneration and healing take place faster; bodily energy is conserved and joint inflammation reduces.

There are hundreds of clinical trials that provide evidence on the positive effects of red light therapy on arthritic symptoms, especially joint pain and inflammation. Below is an outline of the noteworthy results of these studies involving osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, as well as hand, knee, wrist, and spinal pain.


Red Light Therapy For Knee Osteoarthritis


There are a lot of researches on the effect of red light therapy on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Two different studies carried out by Brazilian researchers in 2018 indicate that exercise and stretching coupled with red light therapy is more effective in the treatment of pain due to knee osteoarthritis than exercise and stretching alone. [2][3] Another study demonstrated that a 3-month period of managing knee osteoarthritis with stretching and red light therapy led to pain reduction and an improvement in the patient’s function. [3]

Osteoarthritis Knee Pain: A number of studies carried out between 2015 and 2018 show a reduction in pain due to knee osteoarthritis with the application of red light therapy [4][5][6].

Increase in the Range of Motion: Current researches support the findings of studies carried out decades ago with regards to red light therapy effect on the knee’s range of motion and patient’s functionality. Apparently, the results of these studies were positive ones. [2][3].

Cartilage Regeneration: In a 2017 study published in Lasers in Medicine, knee cartilages of lower mammals were examined. The findings demonstrate that there is an enhancement in knee cartilage regeneration via “biochemical modifications”. In essence, the root cause of knee osteoarthritis is dealt with, rather than its symptoms. [9]

Treating Meniscal Tears: In 2013, researchers from Europe carried out a clinical trial aimed at examining the effect of red light therapy on the pain levels of patients with meniscal pathology – a control group was placed on placebo. They arrived at a conclusion stating that “Treatment with light therapy was associated with a significant decrease of symptoms compared to the placebo group: it should be considered in patients with meniscal tears who do not wish to undergo surgery.”[10]

General Knee Pain: Red light therapy assists in restoring the joint structure and function that deteriorated due to general joint problems other than arthritis. A systematic review published in the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy examines 11 clinical trials aimed at investigating the effect of red light therapy on the joint function in general. [11]


Red Light Therapy For Hand And Wrist Pain


Hand Osteoarthritis in Women: A meta-analysis published in Lasers in Medical Science (2015) posits that there was a significant effect of ultrasound and red light therapy in the management of hand osteoarthritis in females – a major reduction in pain being one of the benefits. The systematic review notes that light therapy is highly beneficial in the treatment of arthritis affecting the knee, neck, jaw, back, and other areas. [12].


Bouchard’s an Heberden’s Nodes in the Hand: A 2016 study in Lasers in Surgical Science investigated the effect of light therapy on Bouchard’s and Heberden's nodes characterized by bony outgrowth and inflammation. The findings demonstrate that red light therapy led to a significant increase in the range of motion and pain reduction associated with these secondary conditions. [13].


Red Light Therapy For Spine Pain


According to some recent studies, red light therapy is beneficial in the management of spinal conditions such as Ankylosing spondylitis. A 2016 study conducted on patients with ankylosing spondylitis indicates that the combination of red light therapy and stretching is more effective than placebo therapy plus stretching in reducing spinal pain. [14].


Emerging Research Shows Light Therapy Can Treat Root Causes of Arthritis


There isn’t a cure for arthritis, but medication and surgery play a huge role in managing the symptoms. A 2018 experimental study demonstrates that red light therapy targets cellular function with respect to the joints. Hence, it focuses on the root cause of arthritis.

In the last quarter of 2018, Brazilian researchers in the field of photomedicine published a study which indicated that cytokine levels were reduced and immune function boosted on the application of red light therapy. They inferred that light therapy alters the pathway for inflammation caused by arthritis, and increases the rate at which inflammation is resolved via immune cells photobiostimulation. [15]

Decades of Positive Research on Red Light Therapy and Arthritis


There is a wealth of literature that examines the effect of red light therapy on arthritic symptoms. The huge body of evidence derived from these studies indicates that red light therapy is a safe and effective means of managing arthritis.

A meta-analysis published in The Journal of Rheumatology examines thirteen different studies carried out prior to the year 2000. These studies have important findings associated with the effectiveness of red light therapy in treating arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were the most fortunate of all the participants having arthritic conditions. There was a 70% decrease in pain when red light therapy was applied compared to the instances where placebo therapy was used.

Morning Stiffness: Red light therapy positively affects hand flexibility. Morning stiffness only lasted for an average 27.5 minutes- lasts longer when light therapy is not applied. [16]


Bottom Line: Red Light Therapy is a Compelling Natural Treatment For Arthritis and Joint Pain


Numerous studies indicate that red light therapy positively affects patients with arthritic symptoms, especially joint pain and inflammation. If you have arthritic pain and you desire a natural solution, then Infraredi is the way to go.




 [1] What Is Arthritis? Arthritis Foundation.

[2] de Paula Gomes CAF, et al. Incorporation of photobiomodulation therapy into a therapeutic exercise program for knee osteoarthritis: A placebo-controlled, randomized, clinical trial. 2018 Oct;50(8):819-828.

[3] Paolillo FR, et al. Ultrasound plus low-level laser therapy for knee osteoarthritis rehabilitation: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Rheumatology International. 2018 May;38(5):785-793.

[4] Angelova A, Ilieva EM, et al. Effectiveness ofHigh-Intensity Laser Therapy for Reduction of Pain in Knee Osteoarthritis. Pain Research and Management. 2016;2016:9163618.

[5] Fukuda VO, et al. Short-Term Efficacy of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial. 2015 Dec 6;46(5):526-33.

[6] Alayat MS, Aly TH, et al. Efficacy of pulsed Nd: YAG laser in the treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial. Lasers in Medical Science. 2017 Apr;32(3):503-511.

[7] Alfredo PP, Bjordal JM, et al. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy associated with exercises in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind study. Clinical Rehabilitation. Jun 2012; 26(6): 523-33.

[8] Bjordal JM, et al. A systematic review of low-level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. 2003;49(2):107-16.

[9] S GN, et al. Radiological and biochemical effects (CTX-II, MMP-3, 8, and 13) of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in chronic osteoarthritis in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. Lasers in Medical Science. 2017 Feb;32(2):297-303.

[10] Malliaropoulos N, et al. Low-level laser therapy in meniscal pathology: a double-blinded placebo-controlled trial. Lasers in Medical Science. 2013 Jul;28(4):1183-8.

[11] Bjordal JM, Couppe C, et al. A systematic review of low-level laser therapy with location-specific doses for pain from chronic joint disorders. The Australian Journal of Physiotherapy. 2003; 49(2): 107-16.

[12] Paolillo AR, Paolillo FR, et al. Synergic effects of ultrasound and laser on the pain relief in women with hand osteoarthritis. Lasers in Medical Science. Jan 2015; 30(1): 279-86.

[13] Baltzer AW, Ostapczuk MS, Stosch D. Positive effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) on Bouchard's and Heberden's osteoarthritis. Lasers in Surgical Medicine. 2016 Jul; 48(5):498-504.

[14] Stasinopoulos D, et al. LLLT for the management of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Lasers in Medical Science. 2016 Apr;31(3):459-69.

[15] Dos Anjos LMJ et al. Modulation of the immune response to induced-arthritis by low-level laser therapy. Journal of Biophotonics. 2018 Sept 11:e201800120.

[16] Brosseau L, Welch V, et al. Low-level laser therapy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. The Journal of Rheumatology. Aug 2000; 27(8): 1961-9.

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