Red Light Therapy: Your Best Path to a Life Without PainLast Updated:
Suffering from pain is a miserable experience. Pain can prevent you from participating in activities you normally enjoy and hold you back from living the vibrant, active life that you love. If you suffer from pain, you have likely spent time searching for effective remedies. If you are reading this article, you are probably still searching.
Red light therapy is a 100 percent natural, safe, and FDA-approved method of pain relief. It provides long-lasting natural (not temporary or chemically-induced) results by stimulating your body’s innate healing abilities at the cellular level.
Table of Contents
Types of Pain
Pain is your body’s natural response to stimuli that cause discomfort. The nerves throughout your body are responsible for sending your brain a message that something is wrong. Sensory receptors signal your brain via your spinal cord, triggering your body to reflexively try and remove the cause of pain or stop the activity that is causing the pain.
At its highest level, pain is classified as either acute, neuropathic, or chronic.
Acute pain  has a specific, known cause; for example, a burn, cut, wound, or an injury such as a sprain or broken bone. Acute pain can be severe but it is generally self-correcting in time, meaning that it diminishes as the injury heals and usually resolves on its own.
Acute pain can, however, turn into chronic pain if lasting effects remain from the initial incident.
Also known as neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy, neuropathic pain   is the result of nerve damage or a problem with your nervous system. Dysfunction of one or more nerves causes sudden, sharp bursts of pain that are often described as shooting, tingling, stabbing, burning, numbing, or as a “pins and needles” sensation.
Your central nervous system is comprised of your brain and your spinal cord. Your peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves throughout the rest of your body. A malfunction somewhere in your peripheral nervous system is the force behind neuropathy.
When peripheral neurons (nerve cells) sustain damage, there is a breakdown of communication between your peripheral and central nervous systems. The damaged neurons fail to send the proper messages, resulting in neuropathic pain.
Neuropathy is frequently first sensed in your hands or feet (the parts of your body that are furthest from your brain and spinal cord), but other body parts can also be affected in time.
The onset of neuropathic pain can have many causes, including spinal nerve compression, shingles, chemotherapy, inflammation, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Diseases like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and HIV can also invoke nerve damage that sparks neuropathic pain. Neuropathy can also be idiopathic (of unknown cause).
Neuropathic pain is generally chronic, but can also be short-term. Heredity can be a contributing factor to neuropathy.
Chronic pain   can be known or unknown as to cause. It is characterized mainly by its persistence. Chronic pain can linger for days, weeks, months, or even years. For some people, it is an unfortunate lifelong condition.
An initial incident (an injury-causing acute pain) may trigger the onset of chronic pain. In many cases, however, there is no apparent reason for its emergence. Chronic pain is most common in older adults and tends to increase with age, but it can affect anyone. Depending on its severity, chronic pain can be a debilitating and life-altering affliction.
Common types of chronic pain, all of which red light therapy can help to alleviate, include:
Fibromyalgia       — Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder that affects muscle and soft tissue. It is characterized by extensive, generalized musculoskeletal pain that may be accompanied by fatigue, sleep disorders, cognitive issues, depression, anxiety, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and sometimes mood disorders. (Also read: Red light therapy is proven to help with sleeping.)
Fibromyalgia is a lifelong condition and represents a form of neuropathy in that it is sometimes the result of a lack of proper communication between your central and peripheral nervous systems. It also resembles neuropathy because it can be triggered by a known event or begin idiopathically and increase in severity over time for no known reason.
Fibromyalgia is further characterized by its tendency to “come and go”, seemingly at will.
Back Pain   — Chronic back pain is often triggered by muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured disks (the padding between your spinal vertebrae bones), arthritis, or the progression of osteoporosis (bones becoming more brittle with age).
Certain back pain is referred to as mechanical pain , further defined as back pain caused by placing abnormal stress and strain on muscles of the vertebral column. Mechanical pain can result from poor posture, poorly-designed seating, and incorrect bending and lifting motions.
- Return-To-Play After Injury   — Athletes and amateur fitness enthusiasts alike are usually eager to get back to playing or exercising as soon as possible after sustaining an injury. Returning before sufficient healing and recovery have occurred, however, increases the chance of re-injury and long-term damage. Any athletic injury requires adequate healing time; however, concussions are especially sensitive to brain re-injury. Red light therapy can help reduce healing time with any sports injury including a concussion.
- Osteoarthritis    — A degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is the progressive breakdown of cartilage within joints leading to the ongoing atrophy of underlying bone. It is the most common form of arthritis, usually progressing with age and increased “wear and tear” on the body.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis   — Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation and pain. A malfunction in the immune system causes unprovoked attacks on the lining of your joints. This disease commonly affects the hands, knees, ankles (usually the same joints on both sides of the body), but can also strike the eyes, heart, circulatory system, or lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a very painful condition.
- Scar Pain  — Scar pain occurs when a wound heals and the resulting scar tissue forms as stiffer, tighter skin than healthy skin tissue. Its cause was an injury prompting immediate acute pain, developing into chronic pain because the resulting scar is not composed of supple, elastic skin tissue. Read how red light therapy can treat other types of scars.
How Red Light Therapy Works to Treat Pain
Red light therapy is a natural, chemical-free, non-toxic, non-invasive, and non-addictive pain management treatment. It produces no harmful side effects and is FDA-approved (read more about side effects of red light therapy).
Red light penetrates your body to its cellular level, stimulating mitochondria (the energy production centers within cells). This promotes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and greater cellular energy, enhancing your body’s natural healing processes.
In addition to the cellular energy boost necessary to promote faster healing, red light therapy also provides:
Red light therapy sparks the formation of new capillaries (fine blood vessels), improving blood flow and delivering nutrients and oxygen to compromised cells more efficiently. Additional nitrous oxide is produced, which widens and relaxes blood vessels and arteries. Bodily waste materials are disposed of more systematically. Oxidative stress (a molecular imbalance within your body) is reduced, promoting the release of endorphins (“feel-good” hormones). Better blood flow and circulation and reduced oxidative stress promote deep tissue healing and pain relief.
Stem Cell Activation
Stem cells are your body’s most basic genetic materials.   They are generated from other cells that serve more specialized purposes. Stem cells are then able to produce new, more differentiated cells with specific functions on an “as-needed” basis, depending upon your own body’s present requirements. Stem cells are essential building blocks within the human body’s natural healing process. Red light therapy is proven to activate stem cell production via its ATP stimulation and cellular energy improvement.
Swelling places extra stress on sensitive nerve endings and pushes against them, causing pain. Red light intrinsically reduces swelling and inflammation, thus relieving pain.
Optimal blood flow, minimal inflammation, stem cell activation, and enhanced cellular energy work conjunctively toward a pain-free state of being. Through the pain relief afforded by red light therapy, you will be able to resume a more energetic lifestyle and enjoy the activities you loved before pain got in your way.
What About Traditional Pain Management Options?
Oral and topical medications do relieve pain; that’s why people use them. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines (except most herbal and organic remedies) are usually FDA-regulated and scientifically proven effective for temporary pain relief. Herbal and organic supplements, however, are more tentative. Their efficacy and side effects have not yet been widely tested or verified, and the health risks they may pose are unknown.
Prolonged usage of even tested and approved medications, however, can have detrimental health effects. Many times, the potential side effects are glossed over in advertising materials and buried deep within the “fine print” on packaging or accompanying pharmacy documentation.
Common side effects of traditional options
- stomach upset
- allergic reaction
- kidney malfunction
- rash or other skin irritation
- liver damage
- worst of all: the potential for addiction (primarily with prescription pain medications)
Oral and topical pain relief agents artificially trigger your body to temporarily stop experiencing pain; they merely act as blockers. Red light therapy, on the other hand, stimulates and enhances your body’s innate healing processes to reduce pain. No synthetic substances are introduced into your metabolic system, and your body absorbs no unnatural materials.
At-Home Red Light Therapy for Pain Management
The most beneficial application of red light therapy typically involves a combination of short red light-emitting diode (LED) waves (630 to 700 nm range) and longer near-infrared (NIR) waves (700 to 900 nm range). Many devices offering a combination of various wavelengths are available today. What works best for you will depend upon your unique therapeutic goals.
Most importantly, red LED and NIR light therapy is natural, 100% safe for your whole body, and is FDA-approved.
In conclusion, red light therapy is a gentle, safe, and natural remedy for pain of all kinds. Unlike oral or topical treatment options, red light therapy produces no adverse physical effects and is non-addictive.
RLT Home devices can be self-administered in the comfort of your home with no recurring expenses. Once you purchase and begin using your device, you can experience pain relief without refilling prescriptions or paying for additional over-the-counter medications.
Red light therapy can pave your path back to a better quality of life through effective pain management and relief, while also providing you with a host of other restorative and rejuvenating benefits.
-  nih.gov - The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Pain (opens in a new tab)
-  clevelandclinic.org - Neuropathy (Peripheral Neuropathy) (opens in a new tab)
-  springer.com - 660- and 980-nm on Neuropathic Pain in Rat Sciatic Nerve (opens in a new tab)
-  nih.gov - Chronic Pain Information Page (opens in a new tab)
-  mayoclinic.org - Fibromyalgia – Symptoms and causes (opens in a new tab)
-  mayoclinic.org - Back pain – Symptoms and causes (opens in a new tab)
-  spine-health.com - Mechanical Pain Definition (opens in a new tab)
-  cdc.gov - Returning to Sports and Activities (opens in a new tab)
-  cdc.gov - Osteoarthritis (OA) | Arthritis (opens in a new tab)
-  arthritis.org - Rheumatoid Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments (opens in a new tab)
-  medicalnewstoday.com - Scar Tissue Pain (opens in a new tab)
-  researchgate.net - (PDF) LLLT for Fibromyalgia (opens in a new tab)
-  practicalpainmanagement.com - Photobiomodulation for Fibromyalgia (opens in a new tab)
-  sciencedirect.com - LLLT for Pain From Chronic Joint Disorders (opens in a new tab)
-  practicalpainmanagement.com - Near-Infrared Light to Treat Pain (opens in a new tab)
-  sciencedirect.com - LLLT for Pain From Chronic Joint Disorders (opens in a new tab)
-  nih.gov - 830 nm in Injured University Athletes (opens in a new tab)
-  nih.gov - Low-Power Laser Therapy on Pain and Cervical Osteoarthritis (opens in a new tab)
-  nih.gov - Pain in Elderly With Narrow-Band Light Therapy (opens in a new tab)
-  lww.com - Laser Therapy for Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis (opens in a new tab)
-  mayoclinic.org - Stem cells (opens in a new tab)
-  nih.gov - Red-Light for Mesenchymal Stem Cells From Rat Bone Marrow (opens in a new tab)