- Savanna McDavid
Treating Sports Related Injuries and Pain with Infrared Light.
Got “tennis elbow”, back pain, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, or some other long term pain? Have achy, sore muscles from lifting weights or tired legs from running? Near Infrared Light Therapy will ease your pain, and might even heal it. Infrared Light Therapy is a non-invasive, non-drug modality that stimulates the body's own healing mechanisms through both molecular signaling and circulatory modulation. There are a lot of sports teams in our area and anyone that plays sports from little league to baby boomers can benefit from Infrared Light Therapy.
A novel therapy introduced to western medicine over the past 15-20 years, most of the focus is on red and near infrared lights. Much of the early work was conducted in the former Soviet Union and other East European countries. The study was to improve performance and injury recovery in both military and athletic patients; and it was successful.
So how do the unique properties of infrared light fuel the body's ability to recover from injuries and pain? The fundamental idea is not much different from heat packs. Among other reasons, heat packs work because they stimulate blood flow to injured areas. Better blood flow means the body will recover faster and pain will ease quicker. However, the heat from a regular heat pack doesn't last very long. In contrast, infrared light penetrates deeper into the body, stimulates more red blood cells and further enhances the ability to recover from injuries.
One of the most important ways for near Infrared Light Therapy to heal is the release of nitric oxide. A naturally occurring chemical in the body, nitric oxide (NO) is a key signaling molecule which can start a number of beneficial effects. Most notably, it has a critical role in promoting blood flow to tissues and increasing lymphatic drainage. Through the increase in lymphatic drainage, infrared light indirectly inhibits inflammation processes and thus reduces swelling.
"The reason that Infrared Light Therapy is so interesting is that unlike some other treatments it doesn’t just mask the pain while you’re using it." The light can help to encourage the healing of the injured body part. This means that after a course of repeated treatments there is the genuine possibility of the pain being resolved.
If you are an athlete yourself, or your child is very active, Infrared Light therapy can benefit and enhance performance. A sports related injury can potentially be healed from Infrared Light and it can help with pain where other forms of pain control may not be wanted. So whether you are looking for an edge up or relief from an injury, Infrared Light may be something to add to your routine.