Bright Health is bringing red light therapy as a new treatment option for common hand and wrist issues. Red light therapy is an effective and natural way to reduce pain and inflammation and speed up recovery time. Here, we will provide information about red light therapy in treating painful conditions related to the hands and wrists. We'll also explore what red light therapy is, how it works, and standard treatment options.
Let's dive in!
What Is Red Light Therapy?
Red light therapy is a treatment that uses red and near-infrared wavelengths to stimulate the body's natural healing process. The treatment is delivered via a device that has LED bulbs that emit infrared and near-infrared light.
More importantly, it can be used to treat acute and chronic conditions such as pain, inflammation, joint stiffness and muscle spasms. This article will discuss the benefits of red light therapy and how it can target and treat hand pain.
Common Hand and Wrist Issues
The hands and wrists are highly sensitive areas of the body that are prone to injury, inflammation, and pain. Common ailments include carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, joint stiffness, tendonitis, overuse injuries, bursitis and trigger finger. Red light therapy can be used to address many of these issues. The red and near-infrared light helps increase circulation, reduce inflammation, improve joint range of motion and reduce pain and stiffness.
Other Common Treatment Options
In addition to red light therapy, there are other forms of treatment that can be used to treat hand and wrist pain. Physical therapy, acupuncture, and medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids may help reduce inflammation and pain. Other treatment options for hand and wrist pain include braces, splints, medications or injections.
However, the difference between these treatment options and red light therapy for hands is that red light therapy is non-invasive and has fewer side effects. Moreover, red light therapy uses natural red and near-infrared wavelengths to stimulate the body's healing process without harsh chemicals or medications. In addition to being a safe treatment option, red light therapy is also very effective in reducing pain and inflammation.
Benefits of Red Light Therapy
Research shows there are many benefits to LED therapy. Some examples of how it may work to help heal and alleviate pain in your hands and other parts of your body include:
- Promotes healing: A study published in the medical journal Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia strongly indicated that infrared therapy enabled healing by decreasing the number of inflammatory cells existing in the body.
- Promotes cellular metabolism: An effect LED light therapy has on cells is increased metabolism, which increases energy within them. This increased energy leads to better cellular performance and regulated cellular reproduction, along with reduced inflammation. These effects increase metabolism, which promotes better tissue and organ performance.
- Restores nerve function: Studies on human subjects have shown that the anti-inflammatory effects of light therapy are an effective hand and nerve pain treatment for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. The treatment works by utilizing photobiomodulation to decrease inflammation, thereby boosting cellular health and reducing oxidative stress. These effects assist in restoring injured nerves, restoring them to full function where they can combat the damage caused by carpal tunnel.
- Improves blood flow: A study published in ClinicalTrials.gov showed that LED light therapy improved blood flow for participants with chronic heel pain resulting from plantar fasciitis. Therefore, light therapy improves blood flow by increasing cellular energy, which is a big precursor to better healing powers.
- Improves joint health: One clinical investigation published in the Journal of the Geriatrics Society on the effects of red light therapy lamps on elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee showed improvement in their pain and disability. Study results found that the therapy improved joint health in the patients and was also helpful in reducing pain and increasing the time between retreatment.
- Management of inflammation: A placebo-controlled trial showed that red light therapy could reduce inflammation and pain in Achilles tendinitis. The study, which exposed seven patients with bilateral Achilles tendinitis to red light therapy, found that all 14 tendons in the area had reduced inflammation and pain after exposure. Results of the study indicate that red light therapy can potentially manage conditions that present with inflammation, such as arthritis.
How Infrared Light Therapy Can Target and Treat Hand Pain
As mentioned, infrared light therapy releases excess energy in cells, giving them an enhanced ability to restore and repair themselves. Likewise, the red light emitted from a device designed for the hands spurs healing in the skin and muscle tissue there. And the faster cells can regenerate and repair, the quicker injuries can heal and provide you relief from hand pain.
Can Help with Pain and Inflammation (especially arthritis)
Red light therapy has been used to help people with chronic hand or wrist pain, as well as arthritis. The light from the devices penetrates 2 to 7 cm. into inner skin layers, reaching muscles, nerves and bones. After penetrating the skin, red and infrared light is absorbed by photoreceptors in the body's cells.
This effect sparks a series of metabolic events and natural processes within the cells, reaching deep into the joints and muscles of your hands to give soothing pain relief and reduce inflammation. This soothing action is key to arthritis pain relief and can help strengthen muscles that support the joints to stay pain-free, flexible and healthy for more extended periods of time.
Can Help with Muscular Injuries
A study on athletes shows that red light therapy for injuries improves muscle recovery time and increases muscle mass. In addition, the findings indicate that red light therapy may also help with muscular injuries, sprains, and strains.
So how does it work? One way that the treatment works is that light emitted from red-light devices penetrates deep into your muscles, causing them to relax. This action helps make blood flow through your cells easier, which speeds up recovery time after strenuous activity or exercise. As a result, you may experience more flexibility and a reduction in the soreness you feel.
Red Light Therapy Detoxes the Body
Another benefit of red light therapy is that it can also detoxify the body while stimulating collagen production. When cells are stimulated, a process called mitochondrial respiration occurs, which releases energy in the form of heat and creates new chemical reactions within your body. These chemical reactions help expel toxins from your system to give you increased strength and endurance for physical activity (and a faster recovery time).
Red LED Therapy for Hand Pain
You can receive red LED therapy at a doctor’s office that specializes in light therapy. However, if you don’t want to go to the office to receive treatment for your hands, there are LED therapy devices you can order online that are effective at delivering hand pain treatment from the privacy of your home.
Red Led Therapy For Wrist Pain
Just as it does with hand pain, red LED therapy can provide an effective way to treat and manage wrist conditions. It works to help reduce inflammation and treats chronic or acute wrist pain from conditions such as sprains, strains or carpal tunnel syndrome. Again, you can decide between wrist treatments in a doctor's office or purchasing a red LED therapy device for use in the comfort of your home.
The Takeaways for Hand & Muscle Pain Treatment
While many people may not be aware of it, red light therapy can be a safe, non-addictive and effective treatment for hand muscle pain and hand joint pain, especially when it comes to inflammation caused by arthritis.
Additionally, infrared rays bring various benefits, including being a sports enhancer by treating sports injuries in your feet. LED therapy for muscle pain stimulates blood flow to speed up recovery time and improves the strength of your muscles for increased flexibility and reduced soreness after exercise.
Lastly, as a home treatment for hand pain, you can order a device online that delivers soothing red light therapy.
Don't Forget Your Feet!
Besides being an effective treatment for hand pain, red light therapy can treat foot pain. They make red light therapy devices that can be used on your feet, including Bright Health’s Red Light Therapy Foot Pain Relief Device. Our device is FDA-approved to use on your feet to reduce inflammation and arthritis pain.
With the use of this foot pain relief device, especially in combination with other medical therapies, you will find it will be a lot easier for you to get around. Bright Health’s foot pain relief device also reduces swelling in the joints of your feet and provides relief from other conditions like plantar fasciitis.
So, if you are suffering from hand pain or foot pain, consider trying LED light therapy to help get your life (and hands and feet) back on track!
Nerve function studies
Güner, A., Altan, L., & Kasapoğlu Aksoy, M. (2018). The effectiveness of the low-power laser and kinesiotaping in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, a pilot study. Rheumatology International, 38(5), 895–904. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-018-4020-6
Li, Z.-J., Wang, Y., Zhang, H.-F., Ma, X.-L., Tian, P., & Huang, Y. (2016). Effectiveness of low-level laser on carpal tunnel syndrome: A meta-analysis of previously reported randomized trials. Medicine, 95(31), e4424. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000004424