The Brain and the Body : Stroke Incidents & Red Light Therapy

According to the CDC, approximately 800,000 stroke incidents occur within the United States every year.  No two stroke incidents are the same. Stroke patients suffer complications such as loss of motor skills or partial paralysis on one side of the body. A person can feel excruciating muscle pain, contractions for long periods of time, or spasms during the recovery process. This muscle tightness is known as spasticity, or hypertonia. Sometimes patients experience muscle weakness down one side of the body, known as hemiparesis. One of the best treatments for muscle spasticity and strengthening muscle function is physical therapy. The recovery process is dependent on the continued movement of the effected muscles. For example, some patients are known to keep their effected shoulder tensed up due to pain from the arm remaining relaxed and hanging. This leads to more complications, pain, and tightness. Everyday tasks such as lifting a fork, sweeping a floor, or driving a car can feel impossible for some. 

While pain is felt in the shoulder, arm, or leg muscles – these muscles are mostly healthy. It is the brain circuits and nerves between the connection in the brain to these body parts that are damaged and need to be strengthened. Often, stroke patients do not find relief from even the strongest pain medication. Regardless, stimulating the muscles and pained areas with physical therapy strengthens the connection in the brain and generates the healing process. 

The National Library of Medicine has shared a study conducted in 2016 on stroke patients and red light therapy. The study concluded that red light therapy “may contribute to increased recruitment of muscle fibers and, hence, to increase the onset time of the spastic muscle fatigue, reducing pain intensity in stroke patients with spasticity, as has been observed in healthy subjects and athletes.” 

Another study from The National Library of Medicine on the effect of Photobiomodulation by red light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on nerve regeneration concluded with positive results. It found in 2010 that, “red to near-infrared LEDs have been shown to promote mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. In this study, LED irradiation improved nerve regeneration and increased antioxidation levels in the chamber fluid. Therefore, we propose that antioxidation induced by LEDs may be conducive to nerve regeneration.” 

Red light therapy works well to stimulate mitochondrial functions in cells and nerves. It can stimulate recovery 4 to 10 times faster than your body’s natural healing process.  Physical therapy is necessary for stroke patients and when paired with full body red light therapy there is the potential to significantly assist efforts towards pain reduction. Photobiomodulation or red light therapy stimulates cells and helps repair the myelin sheath covering nerve fibers to accelerate their healing process and has the potential to have a positive effect on repairing broken neural pathways in the brain disrupted by stroke incidents. 

Learn more about full-body red light therapy or contact us for more information. 

To learn more about the effect of stroke on the body https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/pain_after_stroke.pdf

To read the research articles on the relationship between stroke therapy and red light therapy. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27299571/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20358337/#:~:text=Red%20to%20near%2Dinfrared%20LEDs,be%20conducive%20to%20nerve%20regeneration.

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