Red Light Therapy for Inflammation and Pain

Millions of Americans suffer from inflammation, primarily chronic inflammation. This blog provides information about the different types of inflammation, their symptoms, and possible treatment options. Red light therapy being one of the treatment possibilities- a natural solution that does not come with the harmful side effects associated with some anti-inflammatory drugs.

What is red light therapy?

Red light therapy involves using light-emitting diodes (LED) devices that emit red / near-infrared light (NIR).  This is considered to be part of visible light, but humans cannot see infrared wavelengths accurately. Red and near-infrared (NIR) light are recognized for helping the human body when the light emitted penetrates deeper tissues through the skin. When light enters the cells, they stimulate the mitochondria that serve as energy centers and they produce more energy. Scientists think the regenerative cells will be better at repairing and replicating themselves. By extension, this promotes the healing of the skin, bone, muscle, and connective tissue.

Unlike ultraviolet (UV) light, red light will not burn the skin. You may feel a warming sensation, but when used as directed, red light therapy is safe and free from side effects.

How Red Light Therapy Works?

When delivered within the optimal wavelengths and energy levels, red and near infrared light protect your body’s cells from nitric oxide damage, which can otherwise stop the cell’s production of ATP when you’re stressed or ill. Red light photons allow your cells to continue utilizing oxygen effectively by minimizing the absorption of nitric oxide. Only red light therapy can reach all the way into a cell’s mitochondria to stimulate healing and regeneration to help improve your appearance, performance, and overall well-being.

Unlike painkillers, red light therapy blocks the sense of pain. It focuses on cellular processes and promotes optimal cell functioning which leads to a healthy and painless body.

Benefits to Using Red Light Therapy Lights

1) Increased collagen production

Collagen is a protein that provides cellular structure to the skin as well as muscle tissue. During healing after an injury, separated tissues are bonded by a lattice which is made of mainly collagen. Red light therapy is a long-established method to boost collagen production and improve skin condition, but can also be effective at repairing damaged internal tissues. Even broken pelvic tissue may have been repaired by a thick collagen fiber rather than by a new bone structure.

Increased collagen production improves skin health. Red light therapy is used to reduce wrinkles and fine lines by stimulating collagen production. It also can be used to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

2) Increased blood flow

Red light therapy increases circulation by bringing more oxygen-rich blood to the area being treated. The increased circulation delivers nutrients that promote healing and increased tissue repair. Red light stimulates vascular formation and increases blood flow through the irradiated areas. The resulting nutrients are transported into the bloodstream and remove waste products causing the deterioration and the healing process.

3) Reduce Recovery Time

Red light therapy reduces recovery time by increasing the production of ATP. The mitochondria in your cells produce ATP, which is used for energy in the body. When you have an injury, your body needs more ATP to repair the damage. Red light therapy speeds up the production of ATP so that your cells can heal faster.

Athletes often use red light therapy to reduce recovery time after a workout. The increased circulation and production of ATP help muscles recover faster so that they can be ready for the next workout.

4) Reduced inflammation

When you are hurt, the first thing that your body does is swell. Swelling causes discomfort and can restrict blood flow, which inhibits healing. Chronic inflammation and malfunction can cause a delay in healing. Acute inflammation is the sensation of swelling, cold pain, and redness in your body. The inflammatory process subsides during the healing process.

5) Promote Cellular Health

Red light therapy promotes cellular health by stimulating collagen production, strengthening hair and improving skin elasticity. Promotes connective tissue health by reducing inflammation, repairing damaged cells and increasing blood flow. Red light therapy also improves circulation, which delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the cells. All of these benefits lead to healthier cells and a healthier body.

6) Reduce Pain

Eases joint stiffness and soreness secondary to decreased inflammation, improved blood flow, and reducing muscle spasms. Studies have shown that red light therapy is effective in reducing pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.

7) Stimulate Hair Growth and Increased Fertility

Light therapy for pain. How can I treat my pain with red light therapy?

At MOTUS Specialists we trust Platinum LED Therapy Lights, as a natural and effective way to reduce pain.  inexpensive and efficient way to reduce pain. Unlike over-the-counter or prescription painkillers, red light therapy doesn’t block our perception of pain. Instead, it works at the cellular level to promote optimal cell functioning that results in a healthier, pain-free body. 

As an inexpensive and efficient treatment, red light therapy has shown great therapeutic potential in clinical trials for treating a variety of conditions. These include (but are not limited to) osteoarthritis and other joint pain, bone breaks, muscle injury, connective tissue disorders, nervous system disorders, and spinal disorders.

Types of Pain Treated by Red and NIR Light Therapy

Whether they’re used separately or together, red light therapy and near-infrared light therapy are incredibly versatile treatments that provide targeted pain relief for a variety of painful ailments seen by physical therapists.

Joint Pain

  • Red light therapy addresses joint pain by reducing inflammation and promoting blood circulation, as well as increasing collagen synthesis.
  • Separately or in some combination, Red/NIR light therapy can reduce joint pain, as shown in a 2011 published study. In this study, participants, all of whom suffered from sacroiliac joint pain, underwent 10 sessions of 830nm near-infrared light therapy over five weeks. All showed significant improvement in pain scores, while two-thirds showed increased trunk mobility.


  • Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder caused by wear and tear on the joints. It affects approximately 32.5 million Americans, from professional athletes to the elderly. Red and NIR light therapy address inflammation, which is the root of this disease. In fact, studies show that consistent treatments help reduce patients’ osteoarthritis pain, and can even improve mobility when combined with exercise.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when pressure on the median nerve in the wrist leads to pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands. Studies have shown that red light therapy can provide short-term pain relief for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, likely from the treatment’s ability to target inflamed areas of the body and improve blood circulation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • An autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis attacks joints and causes mild to severe joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Given red light therapy’s anti-inflammatory effects, it has proved to be a promising treatment for this condition.
  • In a 2005 controlled study by researchers at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, red light therapy reduced rheumatoid arthritis pain in patients by 70% compared with the placebo group. Patients also saw a significant decrease in morning stiffness and increases in palm flexibility.


  • Often associated with running and other high-impact athletic activities, bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the bursa, which are small fluid-filled sacs between the tendon and bone that lubricate the outer hip joint. Red light therapy speeds up the healing process by alleviating swelling in the treated areas. 

Chronic Pain

  • Any pain lasting longer than six months is considered chronic, and it often takes a physical toll by tensing the surrounding muscles, limiting mobility, and decreasing energy. Examples of chronic pain include frequent headaches, low backaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. 
  • Red light therapy can provide relief for those suffering from chronic pain by decreasing inflammation while increasing the production of blood cells and cellular energy production.

Neck and Back Pain

  • Whether it results from a few nights of bad sleep or the residual effects of a sports injury or accident, neck and back pain can range from aggravating to debilitating. Inflammation is often the cause, making red light therapy an ideal targeted treatment for both neck and back pain—especially lower back pain, the most common diagnosis in outpatient physical therapy.
  • Studies show that consistent use of red light therapy can increase range of motion while also mitigating pain. A 2006 study published in Pain Research and Management found that near-infrared and infrared therapy reduced chronic low back pain.
In conclusion, red light therapy is a promising treatment option for a variety of conditions, from osteoarthritis to chronic pain. If you are suffering from any of the above conditions, talk to your MOTUS physical therapist about whether red light therapy could be right for you.


  1. “Red Light Therapy.” Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Accessed March 05, 2018.
  2. “Red Light Therapy.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 01 August 2017. Accessed March 05, 2018.
  3. “Red Light Therapy.” Science Daily. ScienceDaily, LLC., 4 December 2017. Accessed March 05, 2018.
  4. “Red Light Therapy.” WebMD, New York, NY. Accessed March 05, 2018.
  5. Whelan, HT, Smits, JL, Buchfuhrer, MJ. “Efficacy of red and near-infrared light treatment in reducing wrinkles: a systematic review.” J Biomed Opt. (2017): 014009. Accessed March 05, 2018.
  6. Ohkuin I, Ushigome N, Harada T, et al. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) for patients with sacroiliac joint pain. Laser Ther. 2011;20(2):117-121. doi:10.5978/islsm.20.117
  7. Brosseau L, Welch V, Wells G, deBie R, Gam A, Harman K, Morin M, Shea B, Tugwell P. Low level laser therapy (classes I, II and III) in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD002049. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002049. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;(4):CD002049. PMID: 10796462.
  8. Gale GD, Rothbart PJ, Li Y. Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial. Pain Res Manag. 2006;11(3):193-196. doi:10.1155/2006/876920

Have you been injured at some point in your journey?
Are you not achieving your highest level of function?

We’ve helped hundreds of people at all walks in life
get back to performing their best painfree!

MOTUS Client
Janelly Farias

PT's to the Pro's, Stars and Skeptics

Discover why the pro's, protective parents, and weekend warriors trust our 4P Joint By Joint Approach™.

It's time to toss out the old school
physical therapy playbook.

We'll never hand you a stack of those black and white exercise printouts.

MOTUS Client
Sam Darnold

MOTUS Client
Kyle Allen

Level up on rehab and prevention and
get back to the activities you love

Individual rehab and recovery plans to heal and prevents future injuries.​

Schedule A Call

We'll walk you through our 4P Joint Approach™ and set up your 60-minute 1:1 consultation.


Get Your Personalized 4P Plan

We'll pinpoint the source of your pain and design a plan to restore movement along the entire kinetic chain.


Start Moving Again

Get an edge on injury prevention, relieve joint and muscle pain, and return to activities you love with confidence.

Stop wondering if you'll ever
get back to being you.

After my first visit with MOTUS PT, the mobility in my shoulder smoother than it's every been in my life. They spent the entire hour appointment working with me on various stretches, manual therapy, and teaching me how to activate specific muscles to begin correcting an imbalance. If you're looking for advanced PT and results--this is 1000% the place!
Carly C.
Professional Photographer

3 Ways to Level Up Your Rehab and Injury Prevention With Us

3 Ways to Level Up Your Rehab and Injury Prevention With Us

MOTUS 4P Joint Approach

What Pro Athletes Know About the 4P Approach™ to Recovery and Injury Prevention

Grab this free video, where our very own Physical Therapist shares his secrets.

Don't let pain steal your ability
to do the activities you love

Many active people struggle to find long term relief from joint and muscle pain, because they haven’t been able to pinpoint the root cause of their problem. We created a joint by joint approach to healing that identifies the source of your pain and restores movement with
a personalized plan, so you’re free to move and do the activities you love again.

How can you speed up recovery from injuries and prevent injuries? You can do that by getting evidence-based medicine advice from medical professionals with years of experience. They will be sent straight into your mailbox each month.