Infrared Radiation (IR) is an effective method to reduce intense pain in patients and is used in pain management for chronic and acute cases.
Infrared Radiation (IR) is a band of light energy with a wavelength longer than the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum, i.e., from 760 nm-1 mm.
This treatment uses infrared light to get into the deeper levels, heat the muscles and tissues that have sustained injuries, and decrease pain.
Infrared Radiation Therapy used for pain management is also known as LLLT (Low-level Light Therapy) or PBM (Photobiomodulation Therapy).
In infrared radiation, the healthcare professional keeps the probe on the skin surface of the affected area.
For medical treatment using infrared light, professionals use different kinds of lamp sources for the emission of infrared light.
These types are Luminous Generators, which emit light in the near IR range, i.e., 700-1400 nm and Non-Luminous Generators, which emit light in the Far IR range, i.e., 3000-0.1 mm. The light can get nearly 4 cm deep below the skin in the Far IR.
Before starting the procedure, the technician who will carry it out must wash their hands carefully. They will keep the area where they need to apply the heat and radiation-exposed, but cover the rest of the patient's body to prevent any unwanted exposure. The patient's eyes must be protected from any radiation using black goggles.
The lamp is at a distance of 45-55cm. The time of exposure shall depend on the prescription of the attending physician. Unlike UV radiation, IR radiation does not cause any harm or damage to cells and is safe to use.
Infrared light activates the photoreceptors present in the cells, which initiate a series of metabolic reactions resulting from activation. The process releases a messenger molecule, Nitric Oxide, from the cells. This molecule has several positive effects, including:
These effects help improve nutrient and blood supply to the affected tissue region. Consequently, they assist in repairing the injured tissue, thus reducing the pain and inflammation.
Infrared Radiation Therapy is a non-invasive procedure.
Follow-up care is a must for any procedure performed on the patient. In infrared radiotherapy, the medical professional needs to regularly check the patient's skin for redness, rashes, burns, or uneasiness.
Patients must keep themselves healthy and clean, rest, and get proper sleep. Patients should maintain a record of their everyday progress in a record book.
Skin Rashes, in some cases, heat allergy might lead to rashes appearing on the skin surface exposed to radiation.
IR therapy is a non-invasive procedure where recovery is fast; patients can get back to their normal activities very soon. Normally, the patient needs to undergo IR therapy for a continuous period for maximum effect.
Patients must also practice any exercise shown by the physiotherapist per the physician's advice daily to get the best results. Also, it is imperative to maintain a healthy and less spicy diet to prevent any other complications, so that the patient can take the IR therapy regularly.
It is advisable to drink lots of fluids and take all medications timely before going for therapy. It will keep the person hydrated and healthy. Post-therapy, it is advisable to rest and avoid lifting heavy weights so that no other muscle injury occurs.