This was the key question our study asked. But before we could even ask this question we had to answer another question: How could light treatment possibly help people with pain?
In other words, what scientific explanation or theory made light potentially effective as a pain-fighter? We already know that light treatment—particularly light treatment in the morning—can reduce depression. Not only in people with winter depression, but also in people with depression year round. This effect appears due to special non-visual receptors in the eye that transmit light straight to the amygdala, a key mood center in the brain. We also know that when you improve mood, you can decrease or diminish pain, and improve people’s ability to cope and function with pain. Importantly,, medications often prescribed for chronic pain, including antidepressants and antiseizure medications, can have only small effects on pain, and that the side effects are significant enough that many people stop taking them. Finally, we know that opioid medications carry many risks and patients are looking for affordable non-drug treatments that they can use in their own homes. So we decided to run a pilot study to test if light treatment could […]