Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Effectiveness Of Light In Improving Sleep And Chronic Pain

Today's post from (see link below) is an interesting look at a possible new non-drug treatment for chronic pain sufferers (including neuropathy patients). The lightbulb manufacturers Osram have conducted studies using bright light therapy to reset the body's internal 24 hour clock. Disturbed sleep is often caused by and exacerbates chronic pain and although the article doesn't go into great detail about the science of it all, it's an interesting development. One to keep an eye on.

 Light at the end of the tunnel for chronic pain
Posted by admin on 26 August, 2013


Prof Tolle, who is president of the German Pain Society, hopes that light
therapy will be added to the chronic pain war chest. His patients at the
Comprehensive Centre for Pain Medicine, at the Technical University of
Munich, are invited to spend four weeks undergoing their usual treatments,
but bathed in lighting that is far brighter than normal.

While an average office might be illuminated to a level of 500-800 lux (the
measure of brightness), the rooms in Prof Tolle’s clinic are lit to
3,000-4,000 lux. The spectrum of light has also been tweaked so that it
contains more blue and is comfortable to the eye. In effect, the designers
from Osram, the lighting company, have transformed a dull clinic ceiling
into a wide blue summer sky.

As Prof Tolle points out, we all feel better on a bright day. Light boxes are
already used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and are sometimes
suggested for insomnia. But this is the first time continuous bright-light
therapy has been tried for chronic pain.

Andreas Wojtysiak, an Osram biologist, explains that the aim is to reset the
body’s internal 24-hour clock – the circadian rhythm – which is often upset
in people coping with pain, affecting sleep. This in turn exacerbates pain

“Studies show that if we don’t get proper restorative sleep, we are more prone
to depression and to sensations of pain.”

Prof Tolle adds: “Patients often note a reduction in pain if they have slept
well and managed to relax.” Sleeping pills can help, he says, but are not a
long-term solution. “And the quality of sleep won’t necessarily be good
enough to make you feel refreshed.

“We believe that the stimulation of the retina with this intensive light can
regulate sleep naturally, and we are looking at a possible causal link
between additional light, better moods and reduced pain.”

His study will monitor 100 patients having light therapy over 18 months at the

Dr Smith is positive but cautious until results are confirmed. “We will look
at anything extra that is not a drug, and has no side effects. We want
effective treatments, and something that can normalise sleep naturally is
important in the treatment of chronic pain.”

Article source:

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments welcome but advertising your own service or product will unfortunately result in your comment not being published.