Light therapy has gained significant ground since it was approved by the FDA in 2002, following a study in which laser treatment alleviated severe carpal tunnel pain.
How It Works
Just how does light therapy help? Cold lasers and other forms of light therapy act on chromophores, light-absorbing molecules similar to chlorophyll in most human cells. Chromophores use the energy from absorbed light to produce ATP, which can be used to synthesize collagen, enzymes, DNA, RNA and other materials.
Even when healthy, we can all perceive this phenomenon on a larger scale. In bright, sunny weather, most of us feel energized and upbeat. In contrast, gloomy weather and prolonged periods in dark spaces make us feel lethargic and depressed. Just as sunlight in the right quantities offers restorative effects to the body as a whole, directed light at the right magnitudes and wavelengths produces resolution of inflammation. Lasers, LEDs, SLDs and other monochromatic light sources all produce beneficial effects.
Light therapy also reduces pain through additional pathways. At the appropriate wavelength, light exerts a direct, inhibitory effect on peripheral nerves, and helps manage the pain associated with arthritis.
A variety of applications of light therapy have significantly grown in popularity in the last decade, and the most common usage is for pain relief. Light therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing chronic pain in the neck, lower back and other common sites of injury and overuse.
- Acute and chronic pain
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle strain
- Soft tissue injuries
- Tennis elbow
- Back pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Wound healing