Piriformis syndrome is that nagging ache down your leg that involves the sciatic nerve. It ruins your day and makes it hard to sleep at night. Red light therapy eases piriformis pain.
That’s why I’ve assembled this guide to the best clinical and best budget red light therapy devices for piriformis syndrome.
The ideal solution using the clinical device works faster, and the budget solution is one of the most convenient red light therapy pads you can buy.
Quick Best Red Light Therapy for Sciatica (and Piriformis Syndrome)
My Best Red Light Therapy for Piriformis Syndrome
Clinical Relief From a Pioneer
Piriformis syndrome causes muscular and nerve pain. Red light therapy is an excellent method to reduce the pain, inflammation, and movement restriction that piriformis syndrome causes.
Red light therapy inhibits pain signals, reduces inflammation, improves cartilage repair, and works better than ultrasound-heat-and-stretching for relief. The Visum Light and DNA Vibe Jazz Band Live red light therapy devices are superior choices for piriformis red light therapy relief.
- See and buy the Visum at VisumLight.com
- See and buy the Jazz Band Live at the Regenerlight page of DNAVibe.com
Why Piriformis Syndrome Causes Pain
Piriformis syndrome is when the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. It causes pain, tingling, or numbness in the buttocks, hips, and legs.
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that affects 0.3% to 6% of the population, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and about 5% of the population, according to Harvard University.
Piriformis syndrome can be caused by too little activity, too much activity, or an anatomic variation.
The piriformis is a small muscle located deep within the buttocks. It is located near the top of the hip joint.
The piriformis is one of several muscles that make up the hip rotator group, which helps to stabilize and rotate the hip. You’re using the piriformis when you turn the leg outward. It also stabilizes the hip joint.
Interaction of Piriformis Muscle with Sciatic Nerve
In most people, the sciatic nerve passes beneath the piriformis muscle. However, in a small percentage of the population, the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle.
This anatomical variation can make these individuals more susceptible to piriformis syndrome. The muscle can more easily irritate or compress the sciatic nerve when it becomes tight or inflamed.
Science of Red Light Therapy for Piriformis Syndrome
The syndrome is both neural and muscular.
While there are hundreds to thousands of studies showing the success of red light therapy (RLT) for both, there are only a few studies on piriformis syndrome and red light therapy.
Where the science is abundant, however, is in the high-power use of the same wavelengths that red light therapy uses.
This makes sense because regardless of the delivery power, the wavelengths resonate the same way.
RLT is Better than Ultrasound, Heat, and Stretching for Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis is a neurological (sciatic nerve) and muscular (piriformis muscle) disorder.
Based only on the National Institute of Health’s medical database at pubmed.gov, there RLT science looks like this. There are:
- at least 96 red light therapy studies on the sciatic nerve
- at least 954 red light therapy studies on muscles
I’ve documented scores of soft-tissue injury, nerve pain, and muscle pain relief studies for you to view as well. Here are two:
- 7 Studies Showing Red Light Therapy Speeds Injury Healing
- 7 MORE Studies Show Red Light Therapy Helps Injured Athletes
Researchers published a red light therapy study on piriformis syndrome in a 2017 edition of the Journal of Mahatma Gandhi University of Medical Sciences and Technology and is entitled To Find the Efficacy of Therapeutic Laser for Piriformis Syndrome.
In this study, researchers compared laser and ultrasound therapies in relieving piriformis symptoms. Note that we are discussing a “low-level laser,” which is appropriate for red light therapy, and not a “regular” laser which is quite high-powered.
15 subjects were treated with 905 nm infrared pulsed at 5000 Hz (which is much higher, by the way, than most studies test for pulsation), using a power density of 12 mW/cm^2, for 2 minutes per session.
The second group of 15 subjects received an established ultrasound therapy combined with stretching and heat therapy.
Results were calculated based on the subjects’ pain perception, range of motion, and ability to function (to use the hip and leg as needed).
The RLT group results were compared to the ultrasound group, as well as to the pre-treatment scores.
By the second week of treatment, the RLT group achieved a significant amount of pain relief and increased range of motion. The ultrasound group achieved pain relief and increased range of motion as well, but the RLT group had even better outcomes than the ultrasound group’s scores.
How RLT Reduces Piriformis Pain
How does RLT relieve the pain of piriformis syndrome? There are several theories, and it’s very possible that all of these contribute to success.
RLT ATP Effects
One of the best-understood mechanisms of RLT is the increase in ATP that it produces.
ATP is adenosine triphosphate and is the energy currency that cells use to rebuild and repair.
RLT therapy significantly increases the ATP produced after treatment. So it provides the energy for the repair of the sciatic nerve and piriformis muscle.
RLT Blood Flow Effects
Equally well-established is the ability of RLT to open blood vessels and supply the injured area with oxygen and nutrition.
RLT does this by releasing nitric oxide, probably from the mitochondria, but possibly from other sources as well.
Blood vessels open in the presence of nitric oxide, and so it is the blood flow that probably accounts for some of RLT’s success in helping with piriformis syndrome.
RLT Analgesic Pain Relief Effects
RLT has analgesic effects that we normally associated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Its activity reduces the ability of nerves to send pain signals to the brain.
The pain relief is the result of COX-2 inhibition and prostaglandin synthesis reduction.
COX-2 inhibition, which is the same mechanism by which Ibuprofen reduces pain and inflammation. Prostaglandin increase is an immune system response that is counterproductive in chronic inflammation. The inflammation reduction includes reducing prostaglandins and the destruction they cause.
The reduced inflammation appears to break the pain-spasm-pain cycle that underlies the chronic pain of piriformis syndrome.
RLT Cartilage Rebuilding Effects
The 2017 study we looked at above also mentioned the theory of RLT’s effects on chondrocyte proliferation and matrix synthesis.
Chondrocytes are specialized cells that produce and maintain cartilage. When chondrocyte cells divide and multiply, they allow cartilage to repair and grow. It is a normal part of the soft tissue injury self-repair process.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) in regard to cartilage is composed of collagen fibers, water, and other non-cellular components.
Matrix synthesis means that chondrocytes are secreting the components of cartilage’s extracellular matrix. The result is protection, cushioning, and stability for joints and muscles.
RLT encourages the repair and growth of cartilage and the fibers that support it, and these activities might be part of how RLT reduces piriformis pain and restores range of motion.
The Best Red Light Therapy Piriformis Syndrome Relief
For piriformis relief, the Visum Light is one of the best professional RLT devices, and the DNA Vibe Jazz Band Live is one of the best budget RLT devices.
Visum includes infrared, red, green, and blue wavelengths. The anti-inflammatory properties of infrared and red wavelengths are well-known, but blue and green are bioactive as well.
Blue light not only reduces inflammation but it is the primary wavelength for acne therapy. It kills P acnes bacteria and acts as an antiseptic.
The green light has a soothing effect and is the only FDA-approved color for lights intended to relieve migraine pain.
Visum gives you programs to run so that you do not need to worry about how to use the device. The pain relief program is perfect for piriformis syndrome.
It also lets you enter any set of wavelengths you like to program your own therapy.
Plus, the Visum is complete with something known as Nogier frequencies. This means that the therapy light pulses on and off at a certain number of times per second (its Hertz or Hz). The theory is that these pulses resonate with biological states you might want to achieve.
Sharon Katzke, the engineer who created Visum, offers a 30-minute session with each purchase of the Visum light. She will make sure you are comfortable using the light for your goals, including piriformis syndrome relief.
You will note on the Visum site a number of photos of people treating their dogs, cats, and horses with the Visum light. Red light therapy gained much of its reputation from animal care, especially among horse owners. Feel free to use your Visum on pets who need pain relief.
And I know this is way off the point of why you’re reading this article, but you should know that the Visum is, in my opinion, a perfect brain injury and dementia therapy light.
You can run infrared and red pulsed at 10 Hz or at 40 Hz, which are the pulsations that Vielight has established as effective for brain injury and dementia symptom relief. Learn more about that in the Brain section of this website, or click contact to ask me questions about these features.
To use the device, set it to program 5. Hold the Visum over the hip, directly on the skin. Move it slowly up and down the hip, and back and forth, for the length of the 5-minute program.
Do the therapy every day.
Most people feel relief after the first treatment but give it two weeks for significant relief.
You can use the device for 45 days with a no-questions-asked return guarantee.
See and buy the Visum at VisumLight.com
Jazz Band Live is the Best Budget RLT for Piriformis Syndrome
Not everyone can afford the luxury, professional RLT device, but don’t despair, because the budget pick is definitely not a weakling.
The DNA Vibe company makes the Jazz Band Live RLT device specifically for pain relief.
The Jazz Band Live has anti-inflammatory red and infrared wavelengths, as well as vibration and magnetic field therapy to reduce piriformis pain.
The vibration stimulates cellular repair mechanisms.
The magnetic fields pulse at the same rate as the earth (the Schumann Resonance), which is equivalent to the alpha state in the human brain.
When we are in alpha rhythm, the brain is relaxed still processing information. It’s a creative, effortless state of mind. In the body, the pulsation has pain relief effects.
The Jazz Band Live is designed to conform to the body part where you place it. It comes with a small and a large band to hold it in place.
Use the Jazz Band Live every day for 30 minutes. You can have two treatments per day to speed up the process.
Give the DNA Vibe 30 days for significant pain relief. That’s the difference between a luxury and a budget solution. You get the same pain relief; it just takes a few weeks.
You can use the device for 60 days with a no-questions-asked return guarantee.
See and buy the Jazz Band Live at the Regenerlight page of DNAVibe.com