Disclosure: Christian Bartenbach is the owner of the light device that was used in the present trial. All other authors disclose no conflicts of interest.
Original Research Article
Short-Term Effects of Bright Light Therapy in Adults with Chronic Nonspecific Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Version of Record online: 26 AUG 2014
Copyright Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Volume 15, Issue 12, pages 2003–2012, December 2014
How to Cite
Leichtfried, V., Matteucci Gothe, R., Kantner-Rumplmair, W., Mair-Raggautz, M., Bartenbach, C., Guggenbichler, H., Gehmacher, D., Jonas, L., Aigner, M., Winkler, D. and Schobersberger, W. (2014), Short-Term Effects of Bright Light Therapy in Adults with Chronic Nonspecific Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, 15: 2003–2012. doi: 10.1111/pme.12503
- Issue online: 23 DEC 2014
- Version of Record online: 26 AUG 2014
- Chronic Nonspecific Back Pain;
- Bright Light Therapy (BLT);
- Multicenter Trial;
- Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)
The present trial evaluated incorporation of bright light therapy in the treatment of chronic nonspecific back pain (CNBP).
A prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter, open design with three parallel trial arms was used.
Subjects received a novel therapeutic, an expected therapeutic ineffective low dose, or no light exposure at three different medical centers.
A total of 125 CNBP patients reporting pain intensity of ≥3 points on item 5 of the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) were included.
Over 3 weeks, 36 active treatment, 36 placebo controls, and 33 controls received 3 or no supplementary light exposures of 5.000 lx or 230 lx, respectively.
Changes in self-reported scores of pain intensity (BPI sub-score 1) and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Questionnaire) were the primary outcome measures. Secondary outcome measures were changes in self-reported overall pain sensation (BPI total score), grade of everyday life impairment (BPI sub-score 2), mood (visual analog scale), and well-being (World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index).
Changes in pain intensity were higher (1.0 [0.8–1.6]) in the bright light group compared with controls (0.3 [−0.1–0.8]; effect size D = 0.46). Changes in the depression score were also higher in the intervention group (1.5 [0.0–2.5]) compared with controls (0.0 [0.0–2.0]; effect size D = 0.86). No differences were seen in change scores between intervention vs sham group.
The present randomized controlled trial shows that light therapy even in low dose could improve depressive symptoms and reduce pain intensity in CNBP patients. Further research is needed for optimizing parameters of frequency, dose, and duration of therapeutic light exposure.