Infrared Light Therapy for Pain Relief

Infrared Light Therapy for Pain Relief

Infrared light therapy was the first light therapy that came out of NASA’s experiment using cold light for plant growth. Further experimentation on rats, and then on humans, discovered that infrared light delivered through light-emitting diodes (LEDs) sped up the healing process and reduced pain.

Light Therapy Treatment

The use of this technology in pain treatment has since been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of multiple pain indicators, including chronic pain, pain from trauma, pain from sport’s injuries, and pain from menstrual cramps.  

How Infrared Light Therapy Works

Infrared light works by penetrating the skin where it is absorbed by the mitochondria of the cell. This increases the cell’s metabolism which stimulates healing in the muscle, bone, skin and subcutaneous tissue.

An important mechanism in this process is the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide (NO) occurs naturally in the body and is a key signaling molecule which, when activated, can set off a number of effects. It plays a major role in promoting blood flow to tissues and increasing lymphatic drainage. Through the increase in lymphatic drainage inflammation is inhibited and swelling is reduced.

What Types of Pain Can Infrared Light Therapy Treat?

Infrared light therapy can treat chronic and temporary inflammation, making it useful in the treatment of:

  • Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Tendon Inflammation (Tennis Elbow, Achilles Tendon Inflammation, etc.)
  • Other Sport’s Related Injuries

Clinical Studies

The efficacy of Infrared light therapy for the treatment of pain has been proven in various clinical studies:

Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial, Pain Research and Management

George D Gale, MBBS FRCA FRCPC DAAPM, Peter J Rothbart, MD FRCPC, and Ye Li

The purpose of this study was to determine whether infrared light therapy could reduce chronic low back pain.

Near Infrared Light for the Treatment of Painful Peripheral Neuropathy, Mayo Clinic

This clinical trial was performed by the Mayo Clinic in order to test the efficacy of infrared light on peripheral neuropoathy.