Red Light Therapy for Hand Pain Relief

Red Light Therapy for Hand Pain Relief


The complex anatomy of the hand is prone to impact injury, repetitive motion injury, and inflammatory disorders. 

Is there anything you can do other than rely on pain pills, steroid shots, or surgery? Yes. This article explores whether red light therapy can be used for hand pain. 

Red light therapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment that you can do in the comfort of your home. Read on to learn more about how it may be able to help you or a loved one. 


Types of Hand Pain 

There are several types of hand pain.

Acute pain is the result of an injury, including broken bones, dislocations, sprains, burns, abrasions, and cuts. It tends to fade as long as proper wound care and healing protocols are followed. 

Chronic hand pain is ongoing pain that often results from inflammation, repetitive motion disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome, persistent unhealed nerve damage due to injury, or a chronic health condition. 

Stenosing tenosynovitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome are common conditions that cause chronic hand pain.  


Natural Remedies for Hand Pain 

Most acute hand pain can be relieved with the use of prescription or OTC pain relievers. Fortunately, there are alternatives if you don’t want to take prescription or OTC pain relievers long-term to manage chronic hand pain. 

You can use various natural compounds to relieve hand pain. Turmeric with curcumin is a known anti-inflammatory. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, can be taken orally in pill form to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. 

Arnica montana is an effective homeopathic treatment for pain. It can be taken orally as pellets or used topically as a cream or gel.

Temperature therapy, especially repeatedly switching between ice and heat, can temporarily relieve pain. Try one minute of ice followed by two minutes of heat, and repeat several times.

Massage and stretches can be used to loosen stiff joints and restore range of motion in cases of arthritis or nerve damage.

Natural remedies may also come with side effects, so be sure to talk to your doctor before trying one to relieve hand pain.


Red Light Therapy for Hand Pain  

Try red light therapy to boost healing. It can also be used to support conventional pain management therapies including painkilling medicines, steroid shots, or surgery.

Red light therapy uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light, which have been used for decades to promote the healing of chronic musculoskeletal conditions and wounds.

Red light therapy supports and speeds up the healing process to shorten the duration of pain. 

It can also promote the healing of chronic inflammatory and nerve disorders by addressing their underlying causes.


How Red Light Therapy Treats Hand Pain

The treatment works by stimulating beneficial biological processes at the cellular level.

Improved Mitochondrial Function

Inside each cell are tiny organelles called mitochondria, which convert raw materials into the energy a cell needs to function properly. Factors such as chronic inflammation can interfere with mitochondrial function. 

The ripple effect of this mitochondrial dysfunction includes slow healing and abnormal cell death.

Red light therapy stimulates the mitochondria to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the cell’s primary fuel. It promotes the health of emerging cells and supports cells that are damaged, speeding up healing and thus shortening the duration of pain.

Reduced Inflammation

Acute inflammation is a beneficial process that is part of the healing process. It manifests as pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness. However, as tissues heal, inflammation subsides so that normal function is restored to the area.

Chronic inflammation present anywhere in the body, even away from the site of the injury or pain, can negatively affect healing. Red light therapy has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.

Increased Circulation

Red light therapy boosts the body’s production of nitric oxide (NO) which is a vasodilator that temporarily increases the diameter of blood vessels to improve circulation. Better circulation means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the hand to support healing.

Pain Relief

It may seem strange that light can soothe pain. The treatment reduces pain intensity in musculoskeletal conditions including osteoarthritis knee pain, fibromyalgia, low back pain, neck pain, and pain due to temporomandibular diseases.

The treatment generates a small amount of soothing warmth. The analgesic effects of red light therapy occur within minutes, and the effects “last longer than those of widely recommended painkiller drugs.”

Cartilage Regrowth/Collagen Production

We tend to think of collagen as the protein that makes up most of the skin. It is also present in all connective tissue and muscle. Red light has been found to stimulate collagen production in muscles and tendons.

Stimulating collagen production can speed up healing of musculoskeletal conditions, to shorten the duration of pain.

Although it has long been thought that damaged cartilage cannot be regenerated, recent research indicates that red light therapy may in fact support regrowth of cartilage that has been damaged by overuse injuries.

A 2021 review of 33 studies revealed that red light therapy reduced inflammation, reduced the degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM), or connective tissue including cartilage. The treatment slowed osteoarthritis progression and promoted ECM synthesis which means cartilage regrowth.

Nerve Restoration

Nerve pain, as well as numbness, can be treated using red light therapy. Red light therapy has been used to successfully treat diabetic neuropathy; and although this condition tends to affect the feet, the same treatment can be used on the hands to stimulate nerve regrowth and functional restoration due to injury or an inflammatory disorder.

Bone Regrowth

Red light therapy can also help in the event of a bone break in the hand. Deep-penetrating near infrared and infrared wavelengths stimulate proliferation of osteoblasts, which are the cells that grow bone.

RLT for Arthritis 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, “nearly half of all women and one quarter of all men will experience the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis in their hands by the time they are 85 years old.” 

We’ve discussed the ways that red light therapy treats pain as well as promotes healing. These mechanisms can help treat pain from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by reducing joint inflammation. 

You can treat arthritis in the hands with 5-20 minute daily red light therapy sessions. 

Preventive light therapy as well as starting treatment after symptoms have developed can slow or even halt the progression of the disease.  

RLT for Wrist Pain 

Carpal tunnel syndrome, sprains, fractures, ganglion cysts, and Kienbock disease (where one of the small bones in the wrist gradually collapses due to loss of blood flow) are common causes of wrist pain. 

The many ways that red light therapy supports the body’s natural healing processes, including tissue regeneration, to improve these conditions.  

Regular treatment is best, to both prevent pain due to overuse injury and to treat existing pain.


PlatinumLED RLT Panels: Best in Class 

The powerful BIOMAX light therapy panels will deliver red, near-infrared and infrared light deep into the joints, bones, and muscles of the hands for fast and lasting pain relief.

These best-in-class medical-grade panels deliver more light energy output, more therapeutic wavelengths, and more size options than other panels in their power class.

Many people find that as they start treating one condition, they see improvements in other conditions. 

For athletes or anyone with a widespread condition, the larger panels offer the most effective treatment option.  

Aside from pain relief and skin rejuvenation (which red light therapy is famous for), this natural therapy has an incredible range of uses, ranging from psoriasis to thyroid health. Check out the Learning Center today, and compare BIOMAX panels to see which one will work best for you!



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