After dealing with a lifetime of chronic migraines, Ann Jones had tried everything under the sun—everything but invasive surgery—to cure her headache woes. Unfortunately for her, and for many others like her who are also dealing with chronic migraines or pain, the treatments she had tried thus far were unsuccessful. In fact, according to Jones, the migraines had “only gotten worse with her old age.” Jones, 70, reported suffering from as many as 24 debilitating migraines per month.
For Jones, like many others, some treatments would work initially, but most would prove to be ineffective altogether. For those that did provide some level of relief, it was often only temporary, or otherwise came with severe side-effects, making it unrealistic to maintain these treatments for the long term.
It wasn’t until 2018 that Jones’ primary care physician introduced her to one of Dr. Mohab Ibrahim’s migraine studies. These studies focused on applying varying levels of green light to relieve chronic pain caused by migraines and other sources.
The study started with Jones receiving 2-hours of white light therapy as a control. But, during the second half of the study, the white lights were swapped out for green LED lights. For some of the 25 patients in the study, there was a noticeable change right away. However, for those like Jones, there wasn’t any noticeable improvement until the 6-week mark—but then there was a dramatic change for the better. Soon after, Jones’ nearly daily migraines spread apart to nearly every other day. And, when the headaches did occur, Jones reports them not being as severe.
Although the contents of this study (and others like it) have yet to publish anything official, there are some common threads that are believed to be a source of focus, primarily the connection between light sensitivity, or photophobia, and chronic pain. A research group at Harvard Medical School found that “green light is significantly less likely to exacerbate a migraine compared with other colors as, in some cases, can actually decrease the intensity of the headache.” The group at Harvard also found that green light “can trigger positive emotions during migraines, in contrast to colors like red, which are associated with negative feelings.” In similar studies on the effects of green light on animals, Dr. Ibrahim and his research colleagues found that “animals that could see green, either from an external light or through green lenses, had a drop in their pain response.”
With three similar studies showing positive results with the use of green lights for moderating pain response, this is fantastic news for strong women like Jones, who have learned to live with their chronic pain–albeit difficult.
You can read more about this recent article on NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/
health-shots/2019/12/15/ 787138928/researchers-explore- a-drug-free-idea-to-relieve- chronic-pain-green-light
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