Light Therapy for Arthritis

The common thread running through the many forms of arthritis is pain.

Sometimes thought of as just creaking joints or painful hands, the real impact of arthritis is easily  underestimated. The effects are not just felt by the sufferer, but affects the immediate family too.

Clinical light therapy has been treating various forms of arthritis for nearly forty years. In that time many clinical, and scientific studies have been conducted, on pain management in general,  and arthritis in particular.

Extensive scientific testing means that quite specific wavelengths have been identified to treat various clinical conditions.

Tests into rheumatoid and osteoarthritis have shown red and infrared treatments, applied individually, or in combination can give effective short and medium term pain relief.

In early days of light therapy many health professionals were understandably sceptical about the treatment.  Now it has now become a widely used form of treatment.

General pain management, wound healing, as well as soft tissue and ligament injuries are all treated using the power of light.

The treatment is non toxic, chemical free, and unlike OTC drugs the effects do not diminish over time.  

Infrared and Red Light Therapy

Invisible to the human eye, near infrared light hides an extensive array of health benefits.

Infrared is unlike  conventional heat sources. The infrared waves penetrate, and heat deep inside the tissue, not the just air around the tissue .  So the infrared devices used for arthritis treatment actually heat the tissues below the skin, to produce a specific and localised increase of circulation. 

This is one of the reasons for the often rapid relief of even chronic pain.

The red light wavelengths incorporated in many of the best home pain management devices work at a different, shallower level in the dermis. They are effective in reducing the painful inflammation associated with arthritis.


How Do Lightwaves Reduce the Pain of Arthritis?

arthritis1Red and infrared wavelengths can penetrate tissues of the dermis between 1.0 and 2.0 inches..  The absorbed light energy is converted into biochemical energy in the form of nitric oxide. 

Naturally produced by the body, nitric oxide is a short-lived gas that widens and relaxes the blood vessels. In particular in the large veins and arteries. 

After just a short treatment time blood flow is increased to nerves and other tissues. This boost in local circulation is one of the reasons for the pain relief from fibromyalgia,  osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

We have written a very detailed article about the mechanism of red light therapy here.

What are Best Home Light Therapy Devices for Arthritis?

The best home devices offer a combination of red and infrared wavelengths. This dualistic treatment approach uses the different properties of each light band to stimulate a different natural response from the body.

The red light has an analgesic effect so helps to reduce painful inflammation. Infrared works at a deeper level to increase local circulation by nitric oxide release and warming the tissues,

The infrared light that is responsible for the fast pain relief, and it’s the red light that extends the the period of relief by it’s analgesic and calming effect.

Device Choice   

We have written full reviews on what we consider the best light therapy devices aimed at pain management, and arthritis treatment.

From our research the LightStim for Pain stands out as the best all round combination device for arthritis treatment . It offers an array of two therapeutic red and two infrared wavelengths, This gives the user a wide light  wavelength envelope to insure a better treatment outcome.

The DPL Flex offers single red and infrared wave lengths. It allows hand free treatment if you find that important. A strap on device, whereas the Lightstim is a hand held corded device. It’s all a matter of how they might fit into your daily lifestyle. 

We hope you find these reviews helpful.   

  • The LIGHTSTIM is a mixture of 2 x infrared wavelengths and 2 x red light wavelengths.  
  • The DPL FLEX SYSTEM is a mixture of infrared and red light.

Recommended Device Reviews


Related Articles

Scientific Studies

review-logoInfrared therapy for chronic low back pain
High-intensity versus low-level laser therapy
Effect of low-level laser therapy in patients with osteoarthritis


Arthritic Conditions

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition particularly affecting wrists, hands, ankles, feet and knees. It is caused when the immune system attacks the tissue that cushions the joints. This leaves them swollen, stiff and often extremely painful. Rheumatoid arthritis will normally be seen in small joints of the fingers and toes first.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It affects your joints, making them stiff and painful. Knees, hips and small joints in your hands are the most commonly affected. People over 50 are most commonly affected, although not fully understood osteoarthritis is thought to be caused by several factors, age, gender (it more common in women), obesity, joint injury or abnormality and genetics.

Gout can be an intensely painful form of arthritis. It is caused by a build up of sodium urate crystals in the small joints. A gout attack can come on very quickly, the urate crystals can build up quite rapidly because your kidneys are not able to process it quickly enough.