Influence of intense light stimulation on trigeminal and cervical pain perception thresholds


Pedro André Kowacs, Serviço de Neurologia, Departamento de Clínica Médica, Hospital de Clínicas da UFPR, Rua General Carneiro 181, 12° andar, sala 1236, 80060–900 Curitiba, Brazil.


Thirty-three migraineurs and 23 healthy controls were submitted to pressure algometry before and after light-induced discomfort was elicited by progressive light stimulation in a monoblind fashion. Pressure algometries were performed on the emergence of the supraorbital, infraorbital, mental and greater occipital nerves, and over the temporal muscles, always throughout the same sequence and from right to left. Measurements were carried out before and immediately after light stimulation and after 10 min of the second algometry. The final result for each site measured at each time-point was the mean of the three measurements. Light stimulation was carried out progressively until light-induced discomfort was reported, to a maximum of 20 000 lux. A heat-blocking glass protected patients' eyes. Migraineurs presented significant and persistent drops in pain perception thresholds after light stimulation, at all sites tested (P = 0.002 to < 0.0001). These drops were not seen in controls, in whom, conversely, a less significant increase was seen on right infraorbital and left temporal muscle sites. Our results indicate that in migraineurs, light may have a relevant role in trigeminal and cervical pain perception thresholds.