A shocking 80% of people experience neck pain at some point in their lives, with this being recurring or even chronic for some.
As you can imagine, with neck movement so closely linked to key body movements, chronic neck pain can be a life-limiting problem for those who suffer from it.
Since so many of us encounter neck pain, there is a constant search for better relief and to regain a sense of control of our lives. Though limited neck pain can be alleviated with over-the-counter pharmacy medications, more serious and long-lasting neck pain needs a deeper treatment. One such example is infrared light therapy.
To help get to the bottom of healing neck pain, we’re looking at its causes, impacts, and how infrared light therapy for neck pain could be your saving grace!
What is chronic neck pain?
Cervicalgia (more commonly referred to as “chronic neck pain”) can range from mild discomfort to repetitive and persistent pain where the head meets the spine. This covers pain in any part of the neck, including muscles, nerves, and bone.
With the right assessment and treatment, chronic neck pain can be alleviated and, in time, go away completely.
Chronic neck pain can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common are:
- Slipped spinal disk
- Trapped nerve
- A fall
Repeated Behaviors and Habits
- Bad posture (while standing or sitting)
- Muscle strain
- Poor back alignment when sleeping
In some cases, chronic neck pain could be an indication of a deeper meaning - like arthritis, which presents itself as inflammation of the joints.
In rare cases, chronic neck pain could be a sign of cancer or meningitis. Should you suspect this to be an issue, you should seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
The Impact of Living With Chronic Pain
Chronic pain in any part of the body can have a significant impact on a person’s life. Most obviously, chronic pain can lead to difficulty completing practical tasks.
Chronic neck pain, in particular, can have a spectrum of impact on day-to-day living. At its lowest, chronic neck pain can lead to limited head movement and reduce a person’s physical activity.
At its worst, chronic neck pain can cause a person to be bed- or chair-bound, rendering them unable to move and making even the most fundamental of movements laborious.
The effect chronic pain can also have on your mental health can also be significant. In a recent study, 14.1% of participants experiencing chronic pain said that it had a severe impact on their emotional wellbeing.
Most often, depression and anxiety can be caused or heightened by chronic pain. In particular, it’s estimated that up to 45% of people living with chronic pain experience depression.
Both of the above factors can also have a knock-on effect on your relationships with others.
Infrared light therapy as a remedy for neck pain
What is infrared light therapy?
Infrared light therapy is a form of treatment used to penetrate through surface-level skin barriers to alleviate and heal pain in the muscles and bones by encouraging cell renewal.
This is done through wavelengths that are specifically targeted to the trouble area. The wavelengths of infrared are between 780nm and 1mm, which is above visible light, meaning it’s not possible to see to the naked eye.
How does infrared light therapy work for neck pain?
Infrared light therapy for neck pain works by sending infrared waves straight to the source, and it has the power to penetrate deep beneath the skin.
When it reaches the deep tissues, infrared stimulates the production of nitric oxide which helps to dilate blood vessels. When vessels are dilated, circulation is likely to increase so more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the neck area. These nutrients aid the healing process and reduce inflammation.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is kick started too. The boost of ATP (the energy currency of cells) means the repair and regeneration of damaged tissues can begin quicker.
And while your tissues are being repaired and swelling decreased, your neck may feel more relaxed as well. Infrared wavelengths influence the activity of muscle cells which can have a relaxing effect, helping to lose any tension.
It’s safe and painless and it’s already widely used by medical professionals, but is now also available directly to consumers in the form of home devices.
Infrared light therapy and neck pain management
Infrared light therapy sends infrared wavelengths directly to the source of neck pain to stimulate blood flow and aid cell regeneration. This process reduces pain and inflammation by helping the body to heal itself in treated areas, such as the neck or back.
Repeated treatment is encouraged in infrared light therapy. You should aim to treat the damaged area for 10-15mins per session, several times a week.
Short-term neck pain should be alleviated fairly quickly after beginning treatment, though chronic neck pain could take up to 12 weeks to notice a difference.
The more damaged an area is, the more cell renewal (and therefore, more therapy) is needed to make a difference.
Does infrared light therapy work for neck pain?
Medical professionals, from doctors to physiotherapists, now widely and effectively use infrared light technology to treat and alleviate pain, especially in the neck region.
With smaller and adjustable infrared devices now available to buy, this technology has never been more accessible or easy to use for targeting pain in difficult-to-reach areas, such as the neck and upper back.
Is infrared light therapy good for stiff neck?
As infrared wavelengths can penetrate deep into your bones, nerves, joints, and muscles, it’s an effective treatment for reducing neck pain and stiffness.
It helps to speed up the healing process and prevent further damage to your neck, so infrared light therapy for neck pain is the perfect non-surgical treatment option for recovery.
You should use this alongside other techniques to help prevent your neck from flaring up again. This could mean modifying some of your current activities or even the seating at work if this is putting strain on the neck area. Otherwise, light exercises that stretch the muscles could help you to see improvements too.
At-home infrared light therapy devices
The benefits of at-home treatment for neck pain
Treating neck pain at home can be beneficial in several ways:
At-home treatments are more accessible. Once you have the device, there’s no need to leave your house to alleviate neck pain, saving you money, time, and effort.
This also means there’s no limit to the amount of therapy you can access when in need - especially useful for sufferers of chronic neck pain - though care should be taken not to exceed the manufacturer’s recommended duration or quantity of therapy sessions.
Moreover, some smaller at-home infrared light therapy devices are compact and easy to move around and can be attached to different areas of the body. This makes treating areas like the neck and upper back a more user-friendly experience.
It’s more affordable too. No need to purchase a gym subscription or self-fund private healthcare appointments. You need only purchase one piece of equipment that will last and continue to alleviate pain throughout your recovery journey.
Additionally, at-home treatments help you reclaim independence; you can own your recovery journey and manage the process from the comfort of your home.
Not only this, the MOVE+ Pro LED & Laser comes with three infrared emitter modules and an adjustable strap, allowing you to take back control of your body and its healing journey by tailoring the position and proximity of the light sources to the pain (and reuse it on various parts of the body).
This personalization helps users target neck and back pain from different positions to aid cell renewal from multiple angles.
Choosing the best infrared light therapy device for neck pain
There are several kinds of infrared light therapy devices out there. Let’s break down the different kinds and how they vary in use:
- Multi-emitter panels - a rectangular, stand-up board containing multiple infrared light emitters that provide more general recovery treatment (and come in several sizes, from desk- to floor-standing). As these stand on their own, the user has to stay within proximity to the device to achieve the best results.
- Source-specific, adjustable devices - a more compact source of treatment with fewer emitters, able to tailor infrared light to target the pain at its source. These are usually attached to thick elastic (akin to a head torch) to allow them to be worn and the patient can move around while treating their neck pain.
What makes Kineon devices special?
Kineon devices have been made by people like you, for people like you. The concept for Kineon was first born in 2019 out of our founder’s first-hand experience with chronic knee pain.
Since then, we’ve continually redeveloped our infrared light therapy to be adaptable to your lifestyle and to help alleviate chronic pain across the body.
We know what it’s like to have your life inhibited by frustrating pain. That’s why we want to help.
Our focus is all about getting you back moving and mobile, hence why our enhanced device is trusted and used worldwide by expert healthcare professionals and dedicated athletes.
Here from Crossfit athlete Sam Briggs about her experience with the MOVE+ Pro…
How to use infrared light therapy for neck pain?
Our handy device can be used anywhere that you feel pain, including the neck. Simply grab the adjustable strap and amend this so it’s as tight or wide as you need.
Next, click all three modules into place and clip it into place. Push the power button to start treatment and choose the desired length by holding down the power button for three seconds. It’s as easy as that! Some customers report a reduction in pain in just 5 minutes.
Incorporate IRLT into your recovery program
We’ve designed our infrared light therapy device, the MOVE+ Pro LED & Laser, to be easy to use and incorporate into your schedule.
With just 10-15mins of targeted use alongside gentle massage and movement throughout the day, users can notice a difference to neck pain in a matter of days. For those who experience chronic pain, the recovery time frame is longer (a few weeks) but still achievable.
It’s important to note that IRLT should be used as a core part of your recovery, but should not be the sole method of rehabilitation.
Unless otherwise discouraged by a medical professional, light excercise and movement (such as walking, swimming, or yoga) can be really beneficial to use alongside light therapy.
Using your device correctly
For beginner users of the MOVE+ Pro LED & Laser, we recommend starting by using one module at the core source of the neck pain. Once you’ve found a placement and a strength that feels right for you, you can start increasing the duration and intensity of the treatment.
You’ll quickly find you gain confidence in the device and enjoy incorporating multiple modules and the adjustable strap into your treatment sessions.
For a step-by-step, check out our tutorial here.
We include everything you need to know in our handy manual and guidance which comes with the device, but we have a whole host of information and support available via our online help desk if you require more info.