The Science Behind Why Migraine Sufferers Avoid the Light

Facts supporting why migraine patients avoid light

If you suffer from migraines, you probably automatically retreat from light when one occurs. In fact, you may insist on keeping the lights off until the episode passes. Now researchers may have pinpointed the reason migraines send us fleeing from bright (and sometimes even dim) lights. Let’s take a closer look at the study and then consider a way that some have found long-term migraine relief.

How Lights Affect Migraine Sufferers

Recent research has shed light on a connection that was never noted before involving migraines and the nerve cells of the eye that are sensitive to light. These nerve cells in the eye are connected to locations in the brain that are responsible for several aspects including:

  • Mood
  • Nausea (a common migraine symptom)
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing

These findings may have determined the reason behind the mood and nausea symptoms that are commonly associated with migraines.

The study involved showing different colors of light to migraineurs both during and in between attacks. A control group was composed of people who don’t get migraines. Every color of light had a negative effect physically on migraine patients both during and between attacks.

Emotionally, the migraine patients exhibited a full range of negative emotions including anger, anxiety, depression, fear, hopeless, and nervousness when confronted with every color of light with one exception – green. Non-migraine patients had no physical response to light and a positive emotional response to all light colors.

Getting Help for Migraines

So the next time you run from the light to deal with a migraine, now you know the reasons for your response. It’s really better for you to be in the dark during an attack, both physically and emotionally. However, there’s a better way to deal with migraines than to spend hours at a time in the dark.

An upper cervical misalignment can create the neurological conditions in the body for migraines to occur. Then triggers can set off an episode at any time. Rather than just avoiding triggers, why not get the underlying problem corrected? An upper cervical chiropractor can provide a thorough examination to let you know if such a misalignment exists for you. If so, that’s actually a good thing – you may be a gentle adjustment away from significantly fewer migraines and maybe even complete resolution of the problem.


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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.