HomeHealthHow to Treat Arthritis?-Is Red Light Therapy a Possible Treatment Alternative?

How to Treat Arthritis?-Is Red Light Therapy a Possible Treatment Alternative?

Arthritis is a painful condition that impacts millions worldwide, especially by inflammation and stiffness in the joints. And this can often lead to pain and decreased mobility.

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While conventional treatments like medication and physical therapy are commonly used, nowadays, many are shifting to red light therapy as an impeccable alternative method.

In this article, we’ll let you know all the intricacies of arthritis treatment and let you know whether red light therapy holds promise as a viable alternative or not!

Understanding Arthritis: An Overview

Arthritis can come in over 100 different types, with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) being the most prevalent.

OA usually develops due to wear and tear on the joints, leading to cartilage breakdown and inflammation. However, RA is mostly an autoimmune disorder where your immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation and damage.

Conventional Treatment Approaches

Here are some of the most common conventional treatment approaches you can consider. So, make sure to read on till the end of the section to know all the possible approaches.

1. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve the pain and inflammation linked with arthritis.

They work simply by reducing the prostaglandins, which are chemicals in your body that elevate inflammation and pain.

NSAIDs can even help improve joint function and mobility in arthritis patients. However, long-term use of NSAIDs can severely lead to gastrointestinal issues and an increased risk of cardiovascular issues.

2. Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are pretty powerful anti-inflammatory medications that can be administered orally, injected into the affected joint, or even applied topically as creams or ointments.

They work simply by reducing inflammation and then suppressing the immune system’s response, which can alleviate pain and swelling in arthritic joints.

Corticosteroid injections are mainly effective for providing targeted relief in specific joints. But, prolonged use of corticosteroids may lead to adverse effects like weight gain, osteoporosis, and increased susceptibility to infections.

3. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a vital role in the management of arthritis by aiding patients to improve joint flexibility, strength, and range of motion.

Physical therapists even design individual exercise programs specific to certain needs and limitations of each patient.

These programs may include:

  • Stretching exercises
  • Strength training
  • Low-impact aerobic activities
  • Techniques to improve posture and body mechanics

Physical therapy can also include heat, cold, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation therapy to relieve pain and enhance your joint function.

4. Surgery

In severe arthritis cases conservative treatments may sometimes fail to provide adequate relief and surgical treatment may be necessary.

Common surgical procedures for arthritis include:

  • Arthroplasty (joint replacement)
  • Arthrodesis (joint fusion)
  • Arthroscopy (joint cleaning and repair)

Joint replacement surgery mainly involves removing damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with prostheses made of metal, plastic, or ceramic components.

Joint fusion surgery involves the permanent joining of two bones together to stabilize a damaged joint. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive process that allows surgeons to visualize and treat joint abnormalities using small incisions and specialized instruments.

What is Red Light Therapy and How it Works on Arthritis?

Red light therapy is the therapy that involves exposure to low levels of red or near-infrared light. This light penetrates through the skin and is absorbed by cells, stimulating cellular repair processes and reducing inflammation.

Research suggests that red light therapy may offer several potential benefits for arthritis sufferers:

  • Red light therapy has been shown to reduce pain levels with arthritis by releasing endorphins which act as the body’s natural painkillers.
  • By modulating inflammatory pathways and decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines, red light therapy may come in handy to alleviate inflammation linked with arthritis.
  • Some studies suggest that red light therapy can drastically enhance joint mobility and function by promoting collagen synthesis and cartilage repair.
  • Unlike medications or any other procedures, red light therapy is generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects reported.

Research Evidence and Practical Considerations

While solid evidence supporting RLT for arthritis is still emerging, several studies have shown promising results.

For instance, a systematic review published in the Journal of Rheumatology concluded that red light therapy significantly reduced pain and improved physical function in many patients with knee OA.

Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology found that red light therapy reduced pain and improved hand function in patients suffering from RA.

That’s not all; a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics analyzed data from multiple studies and concluded that red light therapy was effective in reducing pain due to different types of arthritis.

Practical Considerations

Now, it’s highly recommended that before you consider red light therapy for arthritis always consult with a healthcare professional to determine its suitable for your specific condition.

Plus, factors like the type and severity of arthritis and individual health status may influence the effectiveness of red light therapy.

Moreover, while red light therapy devices for “home use” are available, you must that these devices are of high quality and comply with safety standards.

Professional guidance on treatment frequency and duration may also be beneficial to maximize potential benefits.

Bottom Line

Arthritis is, without question, a complex and challenging condition that can impact the quality of life. While conventional treatments remain one of the treatment methods to tackle arthritis, alternative therapies like red light therapy offer a promising avenue for relief.

With its mind-blowing potential to reduce pain, and inflammation, and improve joint function, RLT holds considerable promise as one of the best alternative treatment options for arthritis sufferers.

However, further research is needed to fully elucidate its overall efficacy and optimal use in clinical practice. So, till then RLT is safe to use and as long as you know whether it suits your purpose, this therapy device can be one of the life changers!

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