Green Light LED Being Tested to Treat Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

Green Light LED Being Tested to Treat Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

By Staff

Early research using green light-emitting diodes (LED) is showing some promise in rats as a novel, non-pharmacological approach to managing pain.  And researchers are excited enough to start a human clinical trial for people with fibromyalgia.

Researchers at the University of Arizona had results of their study published in the February 2017 issue of the journal Pain.

In the study, rats with neuropathic pain showed more tolerance for thermal and tactile stimulus when bathed in green LED compared to rats with neuropathic pain that were not exposed to the greed LED.

The effects of the green LED lasted for four days after the rats’ last exposure to the light.  There were no side effects from the green LED therapy, and there was no tolerance to the therapy.

“Chronic pain is a serious issue afflicting millions of people of all ages,” says Mohab Ibrahim, UA assistant professor of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology and lead author of the study. “Pain physicians are trained to manage chronic pain in several ways including medication and interventional procedures in a multimodal approach. Opioids, while having many benefits for managing pain, come with serious side effects. We need safer, effective and affordable approaches, used in conjunction with our current tools, to manage chronic pain. While the results of the green LED are still preliminary, it holds significant promise to manage some types of chronic pain.”

To receive the green LED exposure, one group of rats were placed in clear plastic containers that were affixed with green LED strips, allowing them to be bathed in green light. Another group of rats was exposed to room light and fitted with contact lenses that allowed the green spectrum wavelength to pass through. Both groups benefitted from the green LED exposure. However, another group of rats was fitted with opaque contact lenses, which blocked the green light from entering their visual system. These rats did not benefit from the green LED exposure.

“While the pain-relieving qualities of green LED are clear, exactly how it works remains a puzzle,” says Rajesh Khanna, UA associate professor of Pharmacology and senior author of the study. “Early studies show that green light is increasing the levels of circulating endogenous opioids, which may explain the pain-relieving effects. Whether this will be observed in humans is not yet known and needs further work.”

researchers are now conducting a small, randomized, double-blind clinical trial to study the effects of green LED light on people with fibromyalgia, a common source of chronic pain. Participants are provided with a green LED light strip to use in a darkened room for one to two hours nightly for 10 weeks.

Robin Tricoles from University of Arizona News writes,

So far, the results of the trial look promising. Two participants even refused to return the green LED light because their pain was markedly diminished, and one participant wrote to Ibrahim telling him how positive the experience was — and asked for the light back. Ibrahim obliged.

Also of note, the therapy works equally well in males and females, Khanna says. “There’s no lesser efficacy in females, and that’s exciting because some medications will have some pain relief and that may be further stratified based on gender,” he says. The hope is that green LED light therapy will alleviate the participants’ pain when used alone or in combination with other treatments including physical therapy or low-dose analgesics.

Todd Vanderah, professor and chair of pharmacology and co-author of the study, says that novel non-pharmacological methods are desperately needed to help the millions of individuals suffering from chronic pain. The initial results, hinting of green LED altering the levels of endogenous substances that may inhibit pain and possibly decreasing inflammation of the nervous system, are a great breakthrough, Vanderah says. Such therapy is inexpensive and could easily be used worldwide.

At the very least, the researchers are hoping that green LED may be used by itself or in combination with other treatments for pain, Ibrahim says.

“Chronic pain is a serious issue afflicting millions of people of all ages,” he says. “Pain physicians are trained to manage chronic pain in several ways, including medication and interventional procedures in a multimodal approach. Opioids, while having many benefits for managing pain, come with serious side effects.

“We need safer, effective and affordable approaches, used in conjunction with our current tools, to manage chronic pain. While the results of the green LED are still preliminary, it holds significant promise to manage some types of chronic pain.”

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Authored by: Staff

There are 19 comments for this article
  1. Kathy Malles-Overcast at 12:48 pm

    I bought the flexible style strips of LED green lights, I have tried using them in a small room where i am working on my computer, I have tried wearing them wrapped around my legs an my body, I have tried them with my eyes open and with them closed, because it dosn’t make clear if it is the green light bathing a persons skin that reduces the pain, or if it is the affect of seeing the green lights, so I have tried both. I’ve tried all of these for about 2 or 3 months now and have noticed absolutely nothing!!! I have sever Fibro, back issues, arthritis, and CFS

  2. Connie Murray at 8:20 pm

    I had to use a tanning bed two times a week for 3 minutes each time and the red light ( called Angel Light) (the Angel light isis also called the beauty light too because woman part d $15 or so each session and were promised improved skin, muscle tone relaxation ect., depending if the vibrations were included in the 12 minute session.everyday to treat an itchy, red, spreading rash all over my body that 3 Dermatologist couldn’t treat. This light treatment stopped the rash spreading and the rash finally disappeared. During this time, I had the “normal” chronic back pain and neck pain. Then this new agonizing acute pain at the same level as labor pains during the birthing process in my forearms and hands after I stopped going to the tanning salons. Lake Havasu City’s only hospital doesn’t have the therepy light normally used for skin problems.

  3. Corvus at 9:56 am

    What Slippery Pepperoni Pizza doesn’t understand is things that are not harmfuln nor novel like lights do not legally require nonhuman animal exploitation beforehand- especially since green light for pain research is already being successfully done in humans safely and has been for years. A quick google shows this.

    Defending animal torture and wasted research dollars is not basic ethics. Research ethics rules only exist because of a long history of abuse by researchers against both human and nonhuman animals. There are extensive books available for you out there. Our ethics are still in their infancy and generally decided by people who profit from them being as sparse as possible. Research ethics need great improvements.

  4. Slippery Pepperoni Pizza at 10:14 am

    What user “Corvus” doesn’t understand is that modern medicine *requires* an animal model to be researched before human research is allowed.

    This is basic ethics.

  5. Corvus at 9:07 pm

    I am a sufferer of multiple chronic pain conditions and am absolutely appalled that animals are being deliberately caused pain for absolutely no reason. Green light and other light therapy for pain is already safely studied in humans in a variety of ways. Many of these articles fail to note the fact that these “rats with neuropathic pain” aren’t being helped by these experiments- scientists either genetically engineer them to have worse pain or they cause pain in them with acid or other methods. Wording it as if the rats just happen to be in pain like we are is grossly misleading. Acting as if this research is not already doable safely in humans is irresponsible. This kind of research is a waste of money and lives to cause needless suffering in nonhuman animals.

  6. Bob Schubring at 5:27 pm

    This looks like there’s a possible link between seasonal affective disorder and chronic pain disorders of various kinds. Wild-dwelling mammals get a lot of green light exposure from looking at green vegetation while feeding on it. The absence of bright light — what happens when the sky is overcast — makes the green light dimmer.

    What’s interesting is the connection with the endo-opioid system of the body.

    It’s important knowledge, even if the only immediate value of it, is that I can use it to ridicule Clinton, Manchin, and Schumer for their proposed Opioid Drug Tax. If they are serious about prohibiting the medicines we need to survive, what do they propose to do about the endo-opioids we secrete in our own bodies from gazing at salad and guacamole? Will they tax lettuce and avocados? Make us wear opaque contact lenses out-of-doors? Or admit that they had a stupid idea.

  7. Kathy Malles-overcast at 2:17 pm

    Just to mention to any of you interested in this, it says the trail participants were given a LED green light strip to be used in a darkened room. I went on Google and googled Greed LED lights and found many possible alternatives to create our own trial of this idea. you can buy flexible tubing of various lengths, or 12″ strips of LED lights. To me it’s worth trying out, so just wanted to share this information with everyone here.

  8. Kathy Malles-overcast at 7:08 pm

    I would love to be a part of this study!!! i have sever Fibromyalsia, and have little results, with most every treatment ever tried, I have had fibro for 16 years, and I really need help! Who can I contact about being a participant of this study

  9. Jean Price at 3:54 pm

    Good to know it’s researched…wonder how they even thought of this!! Guess we’ll see. Wonder if this could be made into beds, like tanning bed set ups with the green LED lights used instead of untraviolet?! Or maybe in lamps…for nude green light “bathing” at home! Not sure I’m ready without a added heat source!!

  10. Tricia at 2:11 pm

    This sounds so promising I’m ready to find out where I can get green led lights. I don’t know if the previous commenters read the whole article because it sounds like it works on all kinds of pain, for some reason releasing some kind of a dopamine effect or reaction to the pain pathways? I’ve been in horrible pain from ra & fibromyalgia & degenerative disks in my neck so any new research related to diminishing pain is always welcome!

  11. DJ Headley at 1:15 pm

    please notify me of updates and comments

  12. Gale Ghostrider at 12:57 pm

    I hope Veronica can/is still reading these comments? If so, I’m wondering if it’s legal to use medical Marijuana where she lives and if she has tried it? Normally I’m not one to be a for Marijuana, at least not in my younger years where it was just used to get high in most cases! But today Marijuana has gotten specially grown for so many better medical uses that I know first hand does in fact work for a lot of people! My partner also has fibromyalgia as well as some other pain issues she suffers with and she uses the Marijuana capsules with high amounts of CBD’s with very little of the THC’s that make you high. So she’s still able to function ion these pills and lowers her pain level enough to make her feel considerably better for hours at a time before she needs more medication! If you haven’t tried it and it is legal in your location. I highly recommend going to a medical Marijuana doctor and see if they would suggest you use it for your pain? Although a doctor isn’t necessary to go buy these capsules high on CBD’s! If you get a medical card the price is lowered in our location. I also don’t want to push or recommend any drug to someone without them talking to a doctor first just for their own safety and well being! But if it’s legal where your at, going or not going to a doctor is your choice to make! I have never heard of anyone being harmed by using Marijuana itself for a short term use. I have a person I know that’s been using Marijuana for several decades that in my opinion has seriously abused the drug! At one point I too was taken off my methadone that I had been using for 15 years at the time and not given anything else for pain. I was in such pain at that point I would of tried anything even if it could of killed me! So I took one capsules that this guy I knew had gotten that were a very strong dosage. Considering I have never used Marijuana before it was way too strong for me and I was flying higher then a kite and got sicker then any ten dogs put together! It did stop my pain though! I just needed a lower dosage! The capsules you get in the Marijuana pain clinics are not as strong as the first one I took and shouldn’t be as scary taking as well as not get you high if you stick with mainly CBD’s and avoid the THC’s as much as possible! Whatever you decide or able to use? I wish you well and hope you get relief soon!

  13. Ben Aiken Longfellow at 12:27 pm

    Trusted physicians also used to “blow smoke” up an orafice of a patient for a cure all if, the diagnosis was not clear.Any and all treatment for non cancer chronic pain ……..for the future is great The more provocative question is, what do 10 million Americans or more do, right now, for our chronic pain?

  14. Gale Ghostrider at 12:21 pm

    I agree with Veronica, I too wish there were Doctors suffering of pain like many of public are. Not only the Doctors though, a lot of this stopping opioites isn’t the Doctor fault necessarily! It’s the fault of the medical society as a whole and government sticking their noses into things they know nothing about themselves! It’s more all these higher up authorities that need to go thru this pain and made to suffer at the level the rest of us do! I bet their minds would change quickly what medication they want and can take then! Although it not surprise me one bit that they would get whatever meds they want while the rest of the population would still be denied the same drugs!

  15. Kathy C at 11:28 am

    We heard the same thing about Red Light LEDs and they are still being marketed for “Pain.” I have a couple of those Devices in my Junk box. They were both expensive, and the lights burned out after a couple of months. One of them was on and infomercial, where they give you one price for the device, then when you order ti you find, the power cord is not Included. The Cord is “Extra.”
    This “Study” does not clearly say much. They used the word “may” rather than “It is proven.” People in pain are desperate, and gullible. There won’t be much input from Physicians, they won’t tell us whether it works or not. The short term, benefits, might be overstated, and the “Study” will go Viral, if someone uses it for marketing. At least the Red Light LEDs generated heat, which helped soothe the pain in some cases.
    We are in a Post Science world. Even if this device offers only a distraction from the pain, The only thing we can take away from this Article, it will be marketed to desperate people, as if it “proven.” The Hype around “Light Therapy” has already given credibility to some “New Age Healers.” They already have a number of different “Therapies. They are all unproven and unscientific, and there have been no “breakthroughs.” Even though we should be skeptical a lot of people with pain will buy one of these devices, and justify it with the idea that any kind of relief is better than none.
    The FDA will approve this device for sale, whether there is proof that it works or not. The approval only means that the device is not dangerous. It does not mean that it is proven to work. A whole new crop of people with pain will buy it. There is a big market for pseudo Science, Snake Oil, some Physicians are recommending it. We are all being duped.

  16. Angel at 7:56 am

    I have had an opioid prescription for 23 years and use red light therapy. The lights help but not nearly enough to render opioids unnecessary. If you have lymphatic issues or vascular issues such as my body wide levido reticularis or joint pain or non healing wounds like my Crohn’s disease ulcers, red light therapy beds are an affordable relaxing and helpful treatment option.

  17. MichaelL at 7:23 am

    I am having trouble tolerating the wire’s “starlight” putting millions of red and green dots on the ceiling. Maybe I need to block out the red portion, and see if the pain gets better!? Honestly, I would love to see if the effects are real. We know that those of us that suffer from seasonal affective disorder benefit from certain light replacement. It would be nice to become med free. But, could there be a light to fix familial hypertension?!….(;-P

  18. Tim Mason at 6:49 am

    I read this article on Yahoo yesterday. LED’s are highly addictive. Our youth constantly stare at light emitting devices, many of them “hand held”. They walk and drive while using these addictive devices injuring and killing themselves and others.
    Most people lose complete focus of their surroundings and become disoriented.

  19. Veronica at 4:50 am

    That’s great news for some – but not for me. I don’t only have fibromyalgia. I have severe migraines, Sjogrens, degenerative disc disease- which is getting more painful each day, and water retention- to the point that I am scared to walk. Doctors don’t get it, so they don’t care. I have no pain meds, and just wish there were a panel of doctors in severe pain themselves who would join in this debacle of ‘no opioids’.

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