Arthritis means inflammation of the joint, but can include over 200 health conditions that cause this type of inflammation including osteoarthritis and autoimmune conditions. This painful condition also affects the tissues that surround the joint (connective tissue). It is estimated that over 54 million adults in the US suffer from this painful joint condition; of those another 23 million have had to stop doing things they used to do because of the pain (Nichols, 2017).
While there are medications and therapies to treat arthritis depending on the cause, there is often no cure for this condition. The goals of treatment are usually to decrease pain and increase mobility and functionality. One possible treatment being currently researched is infrared light (IR), because of the anti-inflammatory properties of IR. Inflammation of tissues around a joint can cause both pain and decreased movement.
Aging causes changes to our inflammation response, creating a higher inflammation response often called “inflammaging” which contributes to the rise of conditions such as arthritis (Ibe, et at, 2015). Human studies on the effects of Near IR for arthritis have been ongoing for some time. Stellian et al (1992) found that NIR significantly reduced pain and improved mobility for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. Another study of inflammation of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint showed improvement in pain and inflammation over just five consecutive days of use (Hansson, 1989). Studies show that NIR can effectively reduce inflammation in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (Oshima, et al, 2011; Pallotta, et al, 2012; Abiko, 2012).
Scientists are currently exploring why NIR seems to help with both pain and inflammation in arthritis. When someone has arthritis, connective tissue around joints can become painfully inflamed. There are cells called fibroblasts that are involved in tissue regeneration and healing of connective tissues. These cells have been shown to increase in activity and numbers when exposed to NIR (Vinck, et al, 2003; Hakki, et al, 2012; George et al 2018). Using NIR to treat arthritis has also been shown to have few if any side effects and be well tolerated (Stellian, 1992; Ibe et al, 2015).
The Salt Oasis Kingsport offers several modalities of IR, including near and mid IR lamps, FIR pads, and an IR sauna.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. Do not make any changes to your healthcare or treatment without consulting your physician.
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