Green LED lights is Tested to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain, CM and Headache

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LED lights

Chronic pain is a serious issue afflicting millions of people of all ages,” says Mohab Ibrahim, UA assistant professor of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology and lead author of the study. Pain physicians are trained to manage chronic pain in several ways including medication and interventional procedures in a multimodal approach.

Doctors Mohab Ibrahim and Rajesh Khanna tested green LED lights and white LED lights on small samples of people with chronic migraines. One of the participants, Debi Lesneski, suffered from severe scorching migraines and was looking for any solution to cure her pain. Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is a frequent symptom of migraine headaches, which affect nearly 15 per cent of the world’s population.

Photophobia, as it is known, can leave migraineurs resorting to sunglasses in well-lit rooms, or seeking the comfort of darkness. The reaction is thought to be due to the brain’s wiring. In a brain region called the thalamus, neurons that transmit sensory information from our retinas cross over with other neurons that signal pain. As a result, during migraine, light can worsen pain and pain can cause visual disturbance, says Rami Burstein at Harvard University.

Various studies and experiments on rats

To receive the green LED exposure, one group of rats was placed in clear plastic containers that were affixed with green LED strips, allowing them to be bathed in green light. Another group of rats was exposed to room light and fitted with contact lenses that allowed the green spectrum wavelength to pass through the lenses.

To receive the green LED exposure, one group of rats was placed in clear plastic containers that were affixed with green LED strips, allowing them to be bathed in green light. Another group of rats was exposed to room light and fitted with contact lenses that allowed the green spectrum wavelength to pass through the lenses. No side effects from the therapy were observed, nor was motor or visual performance impaired.

The beneficial effects lasted for four days after the rats’ last exposure to the green LED. In addition, no tolerance to the therapy was noted. The results of the study, which appeared in the February issue of the journal Pain, revealed that rats with neuropathic pain that were bathed in green LED showed more tolerance for thermal and tactile stimulus than rats that were not bathed in green LED.

Migraine and LED lights

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood. Five years ago, Dr Burstein and colleagues made the surprising discovery that blue light hurts migraine patients who are blind; however, because that study involved only blind patients, who cannot detect all colors of light, Dr Burstein and his colleagues devised a way to study the effects of different colors of light on headache in patients without visual impairment.

In a new study, Burstein and his colleagues sat sighted volunteers in the throes of a migraine in a dark room and gradually raised the intensity of white, blue, green, amber and then red light. As well as recording how the volunteers said the light affected their pain, Burstein’s team recorded the activity of neurons sending signals from the eye to the brain using a tiny electrode placed on the eyelid.

They also measured the volunteers’ brain activity using electrodes placed on their heads. “We were surprised to see that blue light was no more painful than white or amber or red,” says Burstein. “They were all painful.” But even more surprising was the finding that low intensities of green light did not increase migraine pain, in fact, it lowered the volunteers’ suffering. Tests on rats with electrodes inserted into their thalami also showed that green light triggered the least amount of electrical activity. “I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have no idea why green light might be more pleasant,” says Burstein.

“Anything that can help the migraineur find relief from their headaches is useful, and this suggests that green light, at least, might not worsen their headache intensity due to photophobia, as much as other waveforms,” says Simon Ackerman at New York University, who was not involved in the research.

“It does explain why certain wavelengths are worse than others.” Burstein hopes that green lighting, or sunglasses that filter out all wavelengths of light except for green, might be useful for people with migraines. This finding led to the thinking that abnormal sensitivity to light during migraine could be alleviated by blocking blue light.

Researchers are now working to develop a more affordable light bulb that emits ‘pure’, or narrow band wavelength, green light at low intensity, as well as affordable sunglasses that block all but this narrow band of pure green light.

“While the pain-relieving qualities of green LED are clear, exactly how it works remains a puzzle,” says Rajesh Khanna, UA associate professor of Pharmacology and senior author of the study. “Early studies show that green light is increasing the levels of circulating endogenous opioids, which may explain the pain-relieving effects. Whether this will be observed in humans is not yet known and needs further work.”

Researchers are now conducting a small, randomized, double-blind clinical trial to study the effects of green LED light on people with fibromyalgia, a common source of chronic pain. Participants are provided with a green LED light strip to use in a darkened room for one to two hours nightly for 10 weeks.

So far, the results of the trial look promising. Two participants even refused to return the green LED light because their pain was markedly diminished. Also of note, the therapy works equally well in males and females. The hope is that green LED light therapy will alleviate the participants’ pain when used alone or in combination with other treatments including physical therapy or low-dose analgesics.


  • Green Light LED Being Tested to Treat Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Via National Pain Report
  • Treatment of Pain Gets the Green Light via UA News
  • How green LED lights could be used to relieve pain via We forum

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