Research Finds Green Light Helps to Ease Headaches

A new research conducted by the University of Arizona Health Sciences found that people who suffer from migraine may benefit from green light therapy, which was shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and improve patient quality of life.

"This is the first clinical study to evaluate green light exposure as a potential preventive therapy for patients with migraine," said Mohab Ibrahim, an associate professor in the UArizona College of Medicine and lead of the study.


(Image: The University of Arizona)

During the study, patients were exposed to white light for one to two hours a day for 10 weeks. After a two-week break, they were exposed to green light for 10 weeks. They completed regular surveys and questionnaires to track the number of headaches they experienced and the intensity of those headaches, as well as quality of life measurements such as the ability to fall and stay asleep or to perform work.

Researchers noted that green light exposure reduced the number of headache days per month by an average of about 60%. A majority of study participants - 86% of episodic migraine patients and 63% of chronic migraine patients - reported a more than 50% reduction in headache days per month. Episodic migraine is characterized by up to 14 headache days per month, while chronic migraine is 15 or more headache days per month.

Dr. Ibrahim and co-author Amol Patwardhan have been studying the effects of green light exposure for several years. This initial clinical study included 29 people, all of whom experience episodic or chronic migraine and failed multiple traditional therapies, such as oral medications and Botox injections.


(Image: The University of Arizona)

In the trial, green light is regarded as a drug by the researchers and they addressed how the right intensity, the right frequency, the right exposure time and the right exposure methods are all critical to the patients. Since LED light is affordable and accessible comparing to other medical treatment, the researchers considered it a good approach for all.

The paper, "Evaluation of green light exposure on headache frequency and quality of life in migraine patients: A preliminary one-way cross-over clinical trial," was published online by Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society.

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