Migraine sufferers will know well the pain of being around flickering bulbs and harsh fluorescent strip-lights. Not all lighting is migraineur-friendly, and some of it is of such a bad or triggering quality that it helps to bring on a migraine attack.
There are some lights that could be beneficial however, and actually reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine sufferers’ attacks.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences found that a very specific wavelength of green light, when used in a therapeutic manner, resulted in a 60% reduction in the pain intensity of the headache phase of migraine attacks, and reduced the number of days per month that sufferers had migraine headaches.
The study involved 29 people who suffered from either episodic or chronic migraines, and who had not found traditional therapies such as Botox injections and oral medications effective. During the study, these participants were exposed to white light for between one and two hours a day for ten weeks. The participants were given a two-week break, and then exposed to green light for between one and two hours a day for ten weeks.
The participants reported back the effects of the treatment through regular surveys and questionnaires. Using a scale of 0 to 10, it was found that green light resulted in a 60% pain reduction (from a pain rating of 8 to 3.2), that it reduced the duration of the headache pain, and that it improved participants’ ability to perform chores, exercise, work, and to fall and stay asleep.
As well as being an inexpensive form of therapy, the green light therapy was seen as a good option for migraine sufferers as it did not result in any side effects for the participants.
The lead author of the study, Mohab Ibrahim, MD, PhD, explained that;
“It’s not any green light. It has to be the right intensity, the right frequency, the right exposure time and the right exposure methods. Just like with medications, there is a sweet spot with light.”
“As a physician, this is really exciting. Now I have another tool in my toolbox to treat one of the most difficult neurological conditions — migraine.”