Therapeutic effects of blue LED light
The release of NO (nitric oxide ) in applications of blue LED light initiates processes in the body that regulate pain. Vasodilation (vessel dilation) initiated by NO plays a very big role in this process.
The release of NO through blue LED light induces vasodilation (vessel dilation): this leads to a rise in blood flow – not just in the exposed area, but also in non-exposed areas into which the NO can be transported. As a result of the enhanced blood flow, better supplies of oxygen and nutrients cells can be achieved.
Removal of pain-inducing (algogenic) substances is also supported. These processes lead to beneficial relaxation of the muscles, and form the first level of the pain relief that blue LED light can provide.
The vasodilation created by NO increases blood flow – not just on the exposed area, but also in surrounding areas that NO can reach. This means supplies of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle can improve again. At the same time, pain-inducing substances can be better removed too.
NO has protective and preventive properties
There is another special aspect to the mode of action described above for blue LED light: the additional protective and preventive properties of NO. Various effects induced by NO protect muscle and nerve cells against irreparable damage, and thus helps to prevent further injuries.
Thus, the improved supply of oxygen to the muscle offers vital protection against tissue damage caused by lack of oxygen. Ischemia (exsanguination) and overacidification of the muscle are also counteracted, which again reduces tissue damage. What is more, the anti-inflammatory effect of NO effectively suppresses the development of inflammation reactions. In addition, release of inflammatory substances is reduced, which also influences the progression of inflammatory processes.
NO also steers the regulation of various genes, which means undesired programmed cell death of many cell types can be suppressed. These anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic (cell maintaining) effects of NO help to protect muscle cells from further ischemia-related damage, and even cell death.
Other protective properties of NO supplement these processes and protect cells in various ways from oxidative stress.
Also, studies confirm the direct effects of NO on pain perception. It was demonstrated that NO regulates the release of substance P
from the nerve endings in the medulla. Hence, it actively impacts on, and reduces, pain transportation. Even regenerative processes are induced by NO. It appears that NO plays a decisive role in the various phases of muscle recovery, right up to repair.
Now a Philips research team has developed a mobile solution that enables these positive effects of the NO released by blue LED light to be used in mobile back pain therapy.
Read more about the current research status on the mode of action .
Pain relieving and therapeutic effects
Thus, the properties of NO lead to relaxation of muscle, the suppression of inflammatory reactions, and the reduction of pain signal transportation. On the one hand, this leads to pain relief. On the other, muscles and nerves are protected against damage – including prophylactically. It is therefore assumed that the release of NO by blue LED light can counteract the development of chronic pain.
For more information on pain and how it is perceived, see background information about pain.