light therapy reduces chronic pains

Light therapy reduces chronic pains, recently shown signs of being beneficial and providing some relief. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are over 25 million adults in the country experiencing chronic pain (1). These are people who experience pain on a daily basis.  In fact, there are increase of understanding in the dangers of overusing opioids to find pain relief.  For this reason,  more of these people are turning to the other tools available to help reduce chronic pain.

In the February 2017 issue of the journal Pain, researchers reported that using light therapy reduces chronic pains. (2)

The research conducted at the University of Arizona. They took a non-pharmacological approach in managing chronic pain treated with green light-emitting diodes (LED). Indeed, study involved bathing rats in green LED and comparing them to one that were not bathed in the light.

The study showed that rats bathed in the green LED become more tolerant toward thermal and tactile stimulus.  Unlike, the rats that had not been bathed in it. They also observed that there were no side effects, motor or visual impairments. Therefore, benefits from bathed in the green LED lasted for four days following their final exposure.

The researchers tested several colors of light, including white and dark, but they found the benefits came from low-intensity green LED light. While the researchers were not sure why the green light provided the benefits.  They note that green light tends to increase the levels of natural opioids in the body.  So, it helps creating a natural pain killer (3).

As a result, of the study, the researchers are conducting a trial using the green LED therapy helping those with fibromyalgia. Green LED therapy may end up being one more tool to those with chronic pain to help finding relief. Therefore, the more tools that those with chronic pain have available to them the better. In this case, people can find which one work for them and make the most of them.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined chronic pain as pain that lasts three months or past the normal tissue healing time.  Therefore, it can be the result of injury, inflammation, underlying medical conditions or diseases, or there may be a cause that  hasn’t been identified (4).

Sources:
1. National Institutes of Health. Americans are in pain.
https://nccih.nih.gov/news/press/08112015
2. Science Daily. Promise in light therapy to treat chronic https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170228185325.htm
3. The Daily Wildcat. Green means go.
http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2017/04/green-means-go-emerald-light-a-natural-painkiller
4. CDC. Prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6501e1.htm