Red Light Therapy and Musculoskeletal Health
2022 marks the 62nd anniversary of medical laser treatments that include red light therapy which has been clinically proven to be extremely beneficial for leading a life of optimal health. This treatment method is very well documented, with over 4000 laboratory tests, over 550 randomized controlled trials, over 167 systematic reviews and 30 new research papers published per month around the world.
This massive drive to generate more knowledge in this field just shows how much potential it holds to be an all-encompassing treatment method with a long list of benefits. Today, we wanted to investigate how red light therapy can be utilized for optimal musculoskeletal health.
Your musculoskeletal system comprises of all bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissues in your body. These all work together, like a well-oiled machine, to support the bodies' weight, to move and to protect internal organs. Aging, injuries, diseases and birth defects may result in pain and limit movement of the musculoskeletal system.
How does your musculoskeletal system work?
Our nervous system is responsible for controlling our voluntary muscle movements. Voluntary muscle movements include things like pushing a button, or jumping – so things that we do to move intentionally. Our bodies create movement in the following steps:
- The nervous system (brain and nerves) sends a signal which initiates a cascading effect to the skeletal system.
- The muscles contract (tighten) in a response to the received signal. These tense muscles pull onto the tendons that are attached to bones.
- The tendon causes the bone to move through this pulling motion resulting in the intended action sent by the nervous system
- To relax these tightened muscles, the nervous system again sends a signal to the muscles. This results in the bone returning to it’s resting or relaxed state.
As we can tell, having an effectively functioning musculoskeletal system is imperative for optimal body functioning. But what conditions can negatively impact the musculoskeletal system?
– breakdown of the cartilage within joints causing pain, inflammation and joint stiffness.
– certain cancers such as bone cancer or tumors growing in connective tissue can cause pain and compromise movement.
– broken bones, sprains and muscle tears as a result of accidents and trauma can limit movement and cause pain.
– abnormalities that affect the appearance, structure and functioning of the body from birth can result in stiffness and reduced range of motion in individuals.
Top tips for a healthy musculoskeletal system:
- Regular exercise - strengthens the muscles that support joints and bones
- Maintain a healthy weight - extra weight places extra pressure on bones and joints
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet - consume enough protein as well as all micronutrients for strong bones
- Sleep - this is one of the most overlooked way to keep healthy – rest provides our bones and muscles time to recover and heal
Red light therapy and the musculoskeletal system:
Red light therapy has been researched for a number of years regarding its impact on a healthily functioning musculoskeletal system. Research has shown that through cellular rejuvenation and increased blood flow from red light exposure are the two key aspects that improve joint and tissue health.
Inflammation in the body can be modulated and controlled through red light exposure by reducing oxidative stress and damage. This oxidative stress can result in the degeneration of joints and soft, connective tissue.
Studies have indicated that acute neck pain was immediately significantly reduced through red light exposure as well as an improvement in range of motion after treatment.
All patients experience no negative side effects, while enjoying a heap of beneficial side effects!
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Written By: Caroline Bursey