A grant from the United States Army will be used for research to determine the effectiveness of green light therapy on post-surgical pain and inflammation.
The Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center at the University of Arizona received a $2.4 million grant from the United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity.
The study will specifically look at how the pain-relieving effects of green light therapy play a role in the changes in the natural chemicals that reduce pain.
50 million major surgeries are performed in the United States a year, and opioids are the most prescribed medications for managing post-surgical pain. Patients who struggle with sleeping, anxiety, and depression depend on higher doses of opioids to help manage their pain after surgery.
If proven effective for postsurgical care, green light therapy can help decrease the reliance on opioid usage.
Military members and veterans are four times more likely to struggle with anxiety, depression, and sleeping disorders compared to ordinary citizens. They are also more likely to struggle with opioid use disorder and dependence, according to Dr. Mohab Ibrahim, the Associate Director of Medical Affairs for the Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and Professor of Anesthesiology in the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine.
Prior research has found that green light therapy can help the brain’s natural ability to reduce inflammation and pain. Green light therapy has proven to decrease pain and anxiety in animal models by increasing natural substances that fight pain while decreasing the production of inflammatory substances.
In the upcoming study, the UA team will look into the possibility that green light therapy can reverse pain caused by surgeries by increasing the production of natural brain chemicals.
The study’s long-term goal is to decrease the usage of opioids, hospital stays, and medical conditions related to uncontrolled pain.