Exposure To Green Light May Help Reduce Migraine Severity

December 20, 2022

Summary: Migraine headaches are pretty common and challenging to treat due to the heterogeneous nature of the condition. The causes and triggers of migraine headaches are different for different patients. Nonetheless, studies show that stress, weather changes, and hormonal issues are among the leading causes of migraine. Prolonged drug therapy is often required to prevent and get migraine headache relief. A new study shows that exposing patients to green light for a couple of hours a day may help significantly reduce the number of headache days and enhance the quality of life.

Migraine headaches are the most common type of headache, affecting one in five adults in the US. Migraine headaches can be quite severe in many cases, causing significant disability. In addition, people living with the condition often have migraine attacks. These attacks may last for a few hours and even several days. Pains in the condition also vary in intensity.

Migraine is a heterogeneous condition, which means that many factors cause the illness. For example, it might occur due to vascular changes, irritation of peripheral nerves, and more. In addition, migraine is complex in the way that, in most cases, there are some changes in the brain.

Studies suggest that about 75% of those living with migraine do not have an aura, and another 25% have an aura, like they may see flashing lights. Since migraine is a complex neurological disorder, most people develop migraine attacks gradually, and they can feel when they are likely to have a migraine attack.

Although migraine cannot be cured, it is possible to prevent migraine headaches and treat migraine pain. In addition, some people may benefit considerably from medications. Medications may help reduce migraine attacks and make them less severe.

Nonetheless, it is vital to understand that all migraine patients differ. What worked for one may not work for another patient. Likewise, what can prevent migraine1 headaches in one may not stop in others. Many cluster headache specialists suggest that there are tens of known triggers of migraine headaches, like stress, hormonal changes, dietary factors, weather changes, neck pain, smoking, and many more.

The Green Light May Help Reduce Migraine Severity

Due to the diverse nature of the condition, doctors struggle to identify the proper treatment for their patients. Not only that, even if doctors can determine the right drug, one often must take that medication for a long or even lifelong.

Using painkillers for a long time has many issues. For example, most drugs used to prevent migraine headaches are quite toxic and may cause multiple side effects in the long run. Moreover, the long-term safety of all treatments is unclear. Finally, even using health supplements like magnesium for a long time may cause side effects.

Nonetheless, some treatments are very safe, like massage therapy and mindfulness. In addition, since stress is among the leading triggers, many non-pharmacological methods prove to be the best migraine relief in preventing headaches1.

One such safe and effective way to prevent migraine headache attacks could be light therapy. It is no secret that increased exposure to specific kinds of lights may help reduce stress and even have an impact on mood.

Thus, in the study, researchers enrolled 29 adults living with migraine headaches. Seven of them had episodic headaches, and 22 were chronic migraine patients. As an intervention, researchers used white and green colored lights using light-emitting diodes. Researchers first exposed the patients for 1-2 hours to white light for 10 weeks and analyzed the outcomes. Then there was a 2-week break, and the same patients were exposed to green light for 1-2 hours for another 10 weeks.

The study found that both groups benefited from light exposure. However, those exposed to green light had significantly more significant benefits. Though white light also reduced the number of headache days, the benefit from green light was massive. Greenlight reduced headache days by more than half. Also, those exposed to green light felt much better and reported improvement in their quality of life, less anxiety, and less stress.

Therefore, researchers concluded that though greenlight cannot replace drug therapy, it can help reduce the use of medications. Moreover, light treatment was utterly safe and did not cause any side effects. Light therapy is also suitable for prolonged use. But, of course, the long-term impact of such a treatment remains to be seen.

The Bottom Line

Padda Institute Of Pain Management has some of the well-known cluster headache specialists. We tailor unique solutions to provide you the best migraine headache relief.

By Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA