Red light therapy and pain – Nutrilight Shop

Red light therapy and pain

Pain can be caused by many things, and inflammation is usually a component. Therefore, it goes without saying that the reduced inflammatory processes play a major role.

Near-infrared light and pain

Pain can be caused by many things, and inflammation is usually a component. Therefore, it goes without saying that the reduced inflammatory processes play a major role. Even the accelerated healing makes a difference as it is actually a shorter period that the body needs to defend itself with pain. However, red light therapy also has an effect on chronic pain caused by something other than an acute injury. In fact, it seems to be primarily the near-infrared (NIR) light, which penetrates deeply, that has the best pain-relieving effect. In a study that followed 40 patients for six years, it was able to show a significant reduction in back pain, without any side effects (1). They used portable devices that only emitted NIR but anyone with a small handheld device that also emits red light can use it. The red light does no harm, and perhaps also helps with the pain relief. In fact, one of the reasons for the pain relief is an increase in endorphins, which is the body's own morphine, but on the body's terms, and it is stimulated by red light. However, one positive thing about near-infrared light alone is that it is not visible to the naked eye, as it lies just outside the visible light spectrum. It allows a person who needs to treat himself among other people to do so without disturbing them or attracting unwanted attention. Most slightly more advanced lamps have a function that allows you to select one or the other type of light separately and then you can take an NIR treatment whenever needed. I see it as a direct alternative to painkillers, if you have moderate pain, I would say that the effect is equivalent, but without side effects. Using painkillers on a regular basis can lead to a lowered pain threshold and simply feeling pain more easily. If the pain is severe, you can also see that painkillers in combination with red light therapy are more effective than medicine alone.


More research on pain and Red Light Therapy

If you are still not convinced that red light therapy is pain-relieving, here is more heavy scientific evidence. In a large review article, they went through the research and out of 22 studies, they could see that 19 showed an effect (2). It could be seen that biochemical markers of inflammation and pain decreased such as PGE2, Cox 2, IL-1-beta and TNF-alpha. In addition, oxidative stress, swelling and bleeding were reduced in a dose-related manner. The study also found that red light therapy was as effective as NSAIDs (eg ibuprofen, naproxen, nabumetone and aspirin) and that's exactly how I see it. Do a red light treatment instead of nibbling tablets. Healthier, cheaper and safer. The conclusion of the article was that red light therapy can affect the inflammatory processes and that it was more effective to treat a little longer and more strongly, so use the lamp locally on the painful areas and do not be stingy with the treatment time. Overdoing it is obviously not good, but since the treatment is working while it is going on, you will probably know when it is time to stop. Otherwise, use the panel for the maximum recommended treatment time, and do not exceed it for safety. In one study, it could be seen that pulsed could be even slightly more effective in terms of pain relief (3), and it makes sense as it actually penetrates deeper into our tissues.


  1. George D Gale, MBBS FRCA FRCPC DAAPM,1 Peter J Rothbart, MD FRCPC,1 and Ye Li2 Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial. Pain Res Manag. 2006 Autumn; 11(3): 193–196.
  2. Jan Magnus Bjordal 1, Mark I Johnson, Vegard Iversen, Flavio Aimbire, Rodrigo Alvaro Brandao Lopes-Martins. Low-level laser therapy in acute pain: a systematic review of possible mechanisms of action and clinical effects in randomized placebo-controlled trials. Photomed Laser Surg. 2006 Apr;24(2):158-68. doi: 10.1089/pho.2006.24.158.
  3. Ana Paula Fernandes De Angelis Rubira 1, Marcelo Custódio Rubira 2, Lucas De Angelis Rubira 3, Josielli Comachio 4, Maurício Oliveira Magalhães 1, Amélia Pasqual Marques 1 Comparison of the effects of low-level laser and pulsed and continuous ultrasound on pain and physical disability in chronic non-specific low back pain: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Adv Rheumatol. 2019 Dec 17;59(1):57.

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