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The Effect of Light Therapy on Chronic Pain

Brief Summary:

Chronic pain is a major problem in the USA and the rest of the world, currently, all available pharmacological interventions carry with them significant side effects. Pain clinics are specially equipped to perform intentional pain procedures to manage pain. However, there remain groups of patients what neither benefit from pharmacological nor from interventional pain procedures. Other methods have shown only minor benefits such as hypnosis or cognitive behavioral therapy. Therefore, other techniques need to be investigated.

Light therapy has been shown to have significant biological effects on humans. For example, light therapy is used to manage depression. Several clinical trials have shown that certain wavelengths of light can improve wound healing, decrease temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) pain, and decrease fear of back pain. In these trials, light was directed at the site of pain. In an attempt to better understand the effect of different wavelengths of light, pre-clinical studies were conducted using rats. The investigators have shown green and blue Light emitting diode, (LED) light produced antinociception (analgesia) and reversed neuropathic pain associated with several models of chronic pain. The analgesic effect of light was completely blocked when rats had their eyes covered, this suggests that the analgesic effects seen are mainly due to systemic effect through the visual system.

Preliminary experiments on rats suggest that this effect is mediated through the endogenous opioids and cannabinoid system.

The investigators believe that LED light is a safe alternative to pharmacological intervention to manage pain by stimulating the endogenous endorphin and cannabinoid systems. The investigators initial target participants with history of HIV, chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy and fibromyalgia. Participants will be divided into 2 groups. The first group will be a control group exposed to white LED light. The second group will be exposed to green LED light, respectively. Participants will be asked to take LED light home and will be asked to set in a dark room for 2 hours daily for 3 months with their LED light on. At the end of the 3 months trial, the investigator will assess their pain intensity, analgesic use, and overall quality of life. The investigators hypothesis is that participants exposed to green and blue light will have less use of analgesics and will have better life quality.

LINK: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT03677206

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