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Can red and near-infrared light therapy help with osteoarthritis and arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is so common that it is called a folk illness and so potentially troublesome that it can effectively end any kind of party. Thankfully, arthritis and arthritis can be reduced if you have it, and avoided if you want to avoid it.

In general, there are two types of cartilage-eating illnesses. One is osteoarthritis, better known as osteoarthritis, and the other a pure gout disease, such as arthritis, gout or psoriatic arthritis.

In a way, it is not possible to compare osteoarthritis with the more than 200 different gout diseases that exist (of which arthritis, gout and psoriatic arthritis are among the most widespread), because although the symptoms are the same for the two most common diagnoses, osteoarthritis and arthritis, the causes are very different. Articular cartilage is composed of highly specialized cells, chondrocytes, which are sparsely distributed and have a low replication capacity. The low replication potential and the absence of vascular and neural support limit the repair process of the damaged cartilage.1,2

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease with a multifactorial etiology, being aged, joint injury, trauma, and obesity the main predisposing risk factors.3

The increased expression of inflammation mediators alters the cartilage homeostasis by favoring the catabolic activity of chondrocytes, resulting in cartilage matrix disruption and loss.3,4 Contrary to others inflammatory arthritis diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), OA does not involve chronic systemic inflammation, 3 but has rather a joint-specific mechanism, leading to articular cartilage degeneration, subchondral bone remodeling, synovial thickening, and joint space narrowing. 4

A variety of nonsurgical and surgical treatments are available for the management of OA. Therapeutic red and near-infrared lights is an option of nonsurgical treatment, which aims to promote cartilage tissue regeneration. The cellular mechanisms by which therapeutic red and near-infrared stimulates cells include light absorption by cytocrome c oxidase at mitochondria 5,6. The activation of cytochrome c oxidase increases the calcium ions (CA2+), oxygen reactive species, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production 6. These molecules are involved in several intracellular signaling pathways that lead to gene transcriptions related to cell proliferation, protein synthesis, and inflammation decrease 5,6.

How does therapeutic light therapy work specifically to relieve knee pain?

Dr. Lance Stringer: "Without getting too deep into the science, there are a few main mechanisms that the red and near-infrared light specifically addresses to reduce the pain, nociception et cetera of the joint. But essentially what it does, it increases cell activity, specific things such as serotonin and acetylcholines, increases the activity of the synapses and synthesizes these hormones, which obviously when they are increased, it increases regulation and growth of the tissue. And it also decreases and suppresses the stuff that damages the joints, bradykinin, and essentially decreases the potentials of that hormone. And it just increases the mitochondrial potential.

When you penetrate the joint, the photons within the mitochondrial cell or the mitochondrial cells pick up on the red light. What it does, is it essentially just boosts those cells with activity. This increases the light transport, and it just increases all these pathways. It just basically gives the joint a massive dose of healing. It essentially creates biochemical changes that just create big changes in the joint that add a lot of medical benefits. Such a promotion of cellular proliferation, decreasing inflammation, obviously decreased inflammation improves range of motion, decreases pain, all these things.

It is thought that red and near-infrared therapeutic light reduces pain with its analgesic effects as well as increase and assist in regeneration of cartilage"

How long does it take for red and near-infrared therapeutic light to work for arthritis?

Healing occurs at the cellular level, and cells require time to heal and regenerate. Red and near-infrared therapeutic light starts to work immediately, and the results only get better with each session. Improvement for long-term problems is usually noticeable after 2 to 8 weeks of consistent use.

Many people think of Red and near-infrared therapeutic light primarily as an anti-aging tool used by dermatologists to treat skin problems, fine lines and wrinkles, and to stimulate hair growth. But in recent years, scientists have discovered that certain types of red and near-infrared therapeutic light have proven benefits in the context of joint pain and arthritis — ailments that plague a significant portion of the population.

For example, according to the Administration for Community Living, one in four adults in the United States suffers from chronic knee pain, and cases of knee arthritis (an important driver of knee pain) have doubled since 1940.

Red and near-infrared therapeutic light uses LEDs to penetrate deep into tissue, increasing oxygenated blood flow to the injured areas in order to help rebuild cartilage tissue and speed up the healing process.

Red and near-infrared therapeutic light is a very effective noninvasive way to treat joint pain (including muscle pain, knee pain and arthritis), because the light offers deep tissue penetration that increases oxygenated blood flow, rebuilds cartilage tissue and reduces inflammation. 7

In fact, Red and near-infrared therapeutic light has been shown to offer the following benefits:

  • Cartilage healing.

  • Reduced inflammation.

  • Increased blood flow to treated areas.

  • Pain reduction.

The use of Red and near-infrared therapeutic light has exploded in recent years, but mostly in clinical settings and research labs. The good news is that there are effective and safe devices available — such as Photizo Pain Relief and highPAD 3— that allow people to treat their injuries and chronic pain at home.

Handheld therapeutic red and near infrared light devices are a very fast and effective way to obtain close contact treatment. The Photizo Pain Relief is medically approved and designed to treat chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and arthritis. This device is a very fast and efficient way to help relieve pain in a matter of minutes.

The highPAD 3 from Photonic Lights is a high performance pad, simply wrap it around the knee, elbow or other areas of the body provide an effective and safe treatment while relaxing. Pad base light therapy systems have quickly become popular as they are soft and flexible, and have several programs that make it very applicable for many different treatments

Conclusions: Red and near-infrared therapeutic light is effective in relieving pain and disability in degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee. (8) For more information about osteoarthritis and gout, see the Arthritis Foundation webpage.


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