Benefits of Infrared Therapy in Neuropathy Management

Thanks to science, technology, and countless years of research, all in the hopes of finding better solutions to medical problems, there are now many options to consider when dealing with illnesses. Some cutting-edge procedures leverage the literal breakthrough of light energy.

Light as a tool for medicine is used for many different kinds of treatments, specifically in the fields of psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. In a broader sense, this new medical procedure, where the light shines the most, is called an infrared light system.

Learn how this system and intensive infrared therapy can become that “light bulb” moment in managing challenges in neuropathy.

 

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy Infrared Treatment?

Understanding infrared treatment and peripheral neuropathy as two separate concepts can help you appreciate how the therapy can be one of the best options for nerve damage.

Understanding Infrared Treatment

Infrared treatment, sometimes called infrared light therapy, is a method that focuses on the use of light as a treatment for chronic and acute pain. This painless and no-fuss procedure is gaining traction in healthcare because of its positive results.

The therapy involves delivering different light wavelengths to targeted parts of the body where the pain is centered. Infrared light is the complete opposite of ultraviolet light, which damages cells and tissues; instead, this type of light helps cells regenerate and repair.

Infrared light is also what delivers heat that you feel from the sun. It comes in wavelengths ranging from 700 to 1,000 nanometers, which has been proven to be best in healing inflammation and alleviating pain. This light penetrates the skin layers up to 7 cm deep to reach muscles, nerves, and bones—a huge win if the pain is concentrated in any of these areas.

Additionally, infrared treatment is a go-to for those who want to supplement other chronic pain management techniques like meditation, yoga, and talk therapy. It can further boost the oxygen circulation in the body so the tissues can recover faster and relieve pain.

The main advantage of the infrared treatment is its capability to go deep into the skin layers and go in-depth to target and mitigate the source of the pain. Another very attractive element is that it is an entirely natural method.

Overview of Peripheral Neuropathy

Overview of Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is common in older people, given that as people age, the organs naturally weaken and become more fragile. In this case, the target is the nerves in the body’s extremities, like the hands, arms, and feet.

Common causes of peripheral neuropathy include Type I and Type II diabetes, a viral infection, physical injury to the nerves, chemotherapy-induced nerve damage and excessive alcohol consumption. Neuropathy can also be a side effect if a person takes certain medications for an extended period or a vitamin imbalance particularly involving B12 and B6.

The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include a tingling sensation in the hands or feet, numbness in the extremities, sudden shooting pains in some regions of the body, a burning and stabbing sensation, and muscle weakness, specifically in the feet. Those afflicted may also experience a decreased sense of balance and a gradually declining coordination.

Depending on the severity of the condition, these symptoms can be constant or just come and go occasionally.

When a neurologist checks you, the treatment plan you’ll be given will be based on what’s causing your peripheral neuropathy. For example, if it is because of diabetes, then managing your sugar level may lead to the reduction of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Combined: Peripheral Neuropathy and Infrared Therapy

This is not a new treatment method but an improved one based on the 1941 breakthrough. Back then, light was used for nerve therapy, a treatment designed by Harry Riley Spitler. His principle followed light utilization to help balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. This led to the continuous development of what’s now called phototherapy and innovative light devices.

These devices are used in peripheral neuropathy, by using the power of infrared light and targeting it in the identified affected areas to boost tissue repair and accelerate healing, leading to decreased levels of pain.

Advantages of Peripheral Neuropathy Infrared Treatment

The efficacy of infrared therapy to address peripheral neuropathy is largely positive. But it still has a long way to go.

So far, considering this as another treatment option for your damaged nerves is a wise decision, given that it also comes with plenty of benefits:

  • It provides immediate and long-term pain relief.
  • It reduces the tension in the muscles.
  • It can help reduce inflammation.
  • It can penetrate the skin, muscles, and bones to boost recovery.
  • It effectively triggers muscle cell repair and regeneration.

Aside from what it can do for peripheral neuropathy, these are the other benefits of infrared treatment for various conditions:

  • It can heal wounds and diabetic ulcers.
  • It can improve the healing of sports-related injuries.
  • It can minimize the adverse side effects of cancer treatments.
Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy Simplified

Red and Near-Infrared Light Therapy Simplified

This therapy treatment is a non-invasive procedure that sends wavelengths from 635 nm to 940 nm. It can help repair and regenerate cells faster than usual because the light increases energy.

Because infrared light energy can penetrate deeper and reach down into the muscle tissues, working with the root cause of the nerve damage can provide you with better assurance of recovery and healing.

This neuropathy treatment is designed to help minimize pain, reduce inflammation and swelling, improve circulation, and ease the discomfort that you are experiencing due to damaged nerves.

 

Infrared Therapy Neuropathy Published Results

There have been several trials and studies on the effectiveness of infrared therapy for Neurotherapy, and so far, the results are promising. Many patients have experienced immediate and even long-term relief from the symptoms of their conditions.

1. Effect of Near-Infrared Light-Emitting Diodes on Nerve Regeneration

Nerve regeneration is a natural process that the body is fully capable of. When one of your nerves is damaged, it will repair itself by shrinking back and then being at rest for about one month before it starts to grow again. 

In an ideal scenario, these axons or nerve fibers should be able to regenerate approximately 1 mm daily. Although the regeneration time is variable and dynamic, exposure to infrared light can help hasten the process.

This study showed that injured nerves subjected to red to near-infrared light boosted their mitochondrial oxidative metabolism, making nerve regeneration quicker. 

 

2. Low-Level Light Therapy for Sciatica

Sciatica in humans is the pain that radiates and shoots along the sciatic nerve. It can go from the lower back down to the hips, through the buttocks and legs, with sudden or constant pain because of the pressure on the nerves. 

In 2014, Iranian researchers conducted a study on mice with tramautized sciatic nerves where one group was subjected to red-to-infrared light therapy for two weeks, specifically with wavelengths of 980 nm and 660 nm. After the experiment time frame, the study showed that the mice that were treated had reduced neuropathy pain.

 

3. Infrared Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Patients

Carpal tunnel syndrome is due to the pressure on the median nerve at the wrist crease usually by a thickened transverse carpal ligament. Common symptoms include pain, tingling, burning, and numbness in the hand, particularly in the thumb, middle, index, and ring fingers. 

In another study, after five weeks of being treated with light therapy, those with carpal tunnel syndrome experienced less pain during and post-treatment. The functionality of their nerves looked quite promising, as did the recovery from their initial diagnosis.

Infrared Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Patients

Final Thoughts

The use of infrared therapy as one of the viable treatment options for peripheral neuropathy and even other pain-centric conditions has gained traction. It will continue to be widespread over time. It is considered one of the most effective treatments with potential benefits in other conditions because it is very safe and has few drawbacks and risks.

Clinical studies have shown how promising, powerful, and safe this treatment is. Although, like all other medical procedures intended to become widespread solutions, it is still a work in progress. We can expect more solid data and evidence regarding its effectiveness in the future. This is one of the treatment plans that many will look forward to and be excited about.