Photobiomodulation Therapy for Pain: How It Helps & Recent Research

Pain is one of the primary reasons people visit doctors, and it is linked to different health issues like depression, anxiety, and addiction to opioids. It can be difficult to treat chronic pain depending on its cause, and sometimes there can be no identified reason for the underlying condition. Specific treatments like laser light therapy provide a safe and effective solution to relieve pain and heal the body without invasive surgery and potentially harmful medications.

What is Photobiomodulation Light Therapy?

Photobiomodulaton therapy (PBM) is a non-invasive procedure that uses light energy to repair and regenerate damaged tissue. Benefits of the procedure include:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Improved immune response
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Improved DNA production that promotes healing
  • Better lymphatic drainage for reduced swelling
  • Increased endorphin production

What Types of Pain Does PBM Help?

Photobiomodulation therapy, also known as red light therapy, is an effective treatment option for various pain-related conditions. Whether you are experiencing neck and shoulder pain or dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist pain, photobiomodulation light therapy offers promising relief.

Here are some types of pain that PBM may be effective for:

  • Chronic pain management: Red light therapy reduces inflammation, improves circulation, and accelerates healing, making it valuable for chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
  • Acute pain recovery: From sports injuries to muscle strains, PBM therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, promoting faster recovery and pain alleviation.
  • Dental pain management: PBM light therapy minimizes inflammation and supports tissue repair, effectively reducing toothaches and post-extraction discomfort.
  • Back pain and sciatica relief: By reducing inflammation and promoting healing, PBM offers non-invasive and drug-free alternatives for alleviating lower back pain and sciatica.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist pain relief: Light therapies effectively reduce inflammation and promote healing in the wrist, alleviating pain caused by repetitive motion or injury.
  • Menstrual pain management: Red light therapy reduces inflammation and promotes relaxation in pelvic muscles and breasts, providing relief from menstrual pain and cramps.
  • Nerve pain and neuropathy improvement: PBM light therapy reduces pain and enhances nerve function, particularly for individuals with damaged or malfunctioning nerves.
  • Neck and shoulder pain reduction: Red light therapy helps by reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and promoting muscle relaxation, relieving pain caused by poor posture and tension.
  • Headache and migraine alleviation: Light therapy improves circulation, reduces inflammation, and relaxes muscles, providing effective relief for tension headaches and migraines.

Does Photobiomodulation Therapy Work for Pain?

Research suggests photobiomodulation is effective for managing chronic pain and pain due to inflammation (e.g. joint pain and arthritis pain). However, researchers continue to conduct trials to determine its efficacy.

Several studies, however, have found PBM therapy to be effective for osteoarthritic pain, neck pain, and lower back pain. Here’s a look at what the research says:

Reducing Inflammation

PBM therapy can reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of chronic and acute pain. For example, a recent study explored neuropathic pain caused by inflammation in mice, finding that red light photobiomodulation therapy led to a significant decrease in pain levels.

Lower Back Pain

PBM therapy outperformed sham therapy in treating chronic lower back pain. In the study, patients were fitted with PBM light therapy pads that utilized light energy between 800 and 1200 nm. After the 7-week trial, patients who received PBM therapy experienced a greater reduction in pain.

Wound Healing

Wounds and surgical pain is a common type of acute pain. It’s believed that PBM helps to increase blood flow to these areas and stimulate cellular recovery. As a result, PBM therapy may be effective at reducing this type of pain.

Knee and joint pain

PBM therapy’s ability to reduce inflammation may make this an effective treatment for knee pain and osteopathic pain. One study compared high-intensity light therapy to low-level laser therapy, finding that both helped to decrease pain and improve flexibility.

How IS PBM Therapy Administered?

There are two main ways this therapy is administered: Whole-body PBM therapy or targeted light therapy.

  1. Whole-body: Whole-body photobiomodulation requires patients to lay in a large photobiomodulation bed, which looks similar to a tanning bed. Healing light energy is thusly delivered to the entire body.
  2. Targeted: Targeted photobiomodulation uses smaller devices to target specific areas of the body. Our breast PBM irradiator, for example, is helpful for alleviating breast menstrual pain, while our PBM light pad can target lower back pain, gut pain, or other areas of the body.

Typically, photobiomodulation therapy sessions last about 20 minutes, and they are administered 2-3 times per week. Many start to see benefits in weeks 3-5. Ultimately, the number of photobiomodulation sessions you need depends on the severity and type of pain.

What Are the Benefits of PBM Therapy for Managing Pain?

Coping with body pain can be a frustrating, time-consuming, and risky experience. Of course, you can take medications to get relief, but medications often come with undesirable side effects or prove to be of little help. If it is a severe pain, the doctor will prescribe an opioid that has a risk of misuse. Patients who don’t like taking medications for pain can use laser treatment as an alternative method to relieve pain.

Some of the noteworthy benefits of laser treatment are as follows:

  • Affordable alternative to invasive surgeries
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Accelerates tissue repair
  • Increases blood flow
  • Safe & painless to use
  • Easy application
  • Free of side effects
  • Zero recovery time
  • Provides long-lasting relief
  • Customizable as per your needs
  • Requires no medication

Hue Light offers a range of state-of-the-art photobiomodulation devices. Whether you’re looking for at-home solutions, or want to bring PBM therapy to your wellness clinic, contact Hue Light today to learn more about how we can help.


Can PBM light therapy help with wounds & burns?

Yes, light therapy can be used to help patients get relief and healing from burns, wounds, and surgical incisions. Light therapy with red wavelength helps in increasing tensile strength and wound contraction. It leads to fast and effective wound healing across the body.

Does red light therapy help in reducing inflammation?

Providing relief from inflammation is one of the significant advantages of light therapy. Light treatment with red wavelength has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Are there any side effects of low-level laser therapy?

There are no side effects of getting LLLT treatment. However, there are certain body areas where this therapy is not recommended. Low-level lasers can interfere with tattoo ink, so it is not recommended to use this therapy in areas with tattoos. Certain areas, such as the thyroid glands or over the eyes, should not be treated with this therapy.

How much time does it take for PBM therapy to work and provide results? 

It provides you with a safe and effective alternative to drugs and surgery. Several patients will see results after 3 to 5 short treatments.
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