Photobiomodulation for Arthritis

Colin Cook

I last wrote about photobiomodulation for arthritis a year ago. My argument then was photobiomodulation (PBM) can help to relieve pain. If it relieves your pain sufficiently to enable you to get some exercise, then it can be part of your arthritis management program. This is because exercise, in the words of the Arthritis Foundation, “eases inflammation, improves energy and promotes the flow of feel-good, pain-relieving chemicals like endorphins.”


In other words, exercise qualifies as a treatment for some types of arthritis.

Exercise for Arthritis

My argument hasn’t changed. In fact, more and more people and organizations seem to be buying into the exercise-as-treatment idea. Note that the CDC sponsors a web page about it, and the Arthritis Foundation even maintains a page for arthritis sufferers on how to start an exercise program.


The reason arthritis experts are pushing exercise these days is that exercise strengthens the muscles around the joints and improves bone strength. This allows muscles and bones to take some of the pressure off your joints. Taking pressure off your joints can delay the advance of arthritis and allow you to lead a more normal life.

Choosing Your Exercise

The Arthritis Foundation suggests five possible kinds of exercise: walking, water workouts, stationary or recumbent cycling, yoga and tai chi, or resistance training. Each of these has advantages or disadvantages physiologically. But the most important thing to consider is that you may find one more enjoyable or compelling than another. You want to choose one that motivates you and keeps you motivated. That may mean finding a class or a welcoming gym that you particularly like. Social reinforcement is a powerful motivator for most people.


I am suggesting you pay attention to your motivators because it’s important to stick with it once you’ve started. I have quite a bit of experience with this, and I can tell you that losing a day of training can easily lead to losing another day, and another. Before you know it, you are “detraining,” which means losing most of the benefits you gained by exercising in the first place.

Photobiomodulation for Exercise, Photobiomodulation for Arthritis

If you’re a lifelong exerciser, you probably already have an activity that motivates you. For you, managing your arthritis means scheduling the exercise at the time of day you most want to do it. Just plan to combine a few of your regular workouts with a 12-15 minute PBM session. The pain relief provided by the PBM may both enable you to exercise and reinforce your motivation to do it.


If you’re not a lifelong exerciser, read the Arthritis Foundation’s page on getting started. Check with your doctor, too. It can be dangerous to suddenly take up an exercise program if you’ve been sedentary. Your doctor may want to warn you away from particular types of exercise and will probably advise you to start slowly.


This is not one of those “no pain-no gain” scenarios. Your exercise should be fun and engaging. You don’t need to torture yourself to build your strength. You just need to move and keep moving. Twelve to fifteen minutes in our PBM bed may give you enough pain relief to get out there. Book a session here.