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Migraines and Headaches Community
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Avatar universal

Migraines and LED lighting

Our offices are being gutted and rebuilt.  Currently I have a private office where daily I turn out the flourescent lighting and use lamp lighting.  In the remodeling, there is discussion of eliminating all private offices for more open space.  This means, more than likely I will be in a cubicle, and unable to control the lighting.  They are likely going to install LED lighting (supposedly more natural "white" lighting).  On many websites today, there is talk of LED lighting being so much better than flourescent lighting for migraine sufferers.  Does anyone have experience to share on whether they have worked in LED lighting as a migraine sufferer?  Did it effect your migraines negatively or positively?  I read one article about how some sufferers felt that the LED lighting in recently updated stores caused headaches.  The only experience I have is when I pass a car with LED headlights, they seem much brighter and can instantly hurt my head. However that direct beam of light may be different than overhead lighting.  Please share your experience?
19 Responses
Avatar universal
The medical evidence for this is so sketchy, yet the physics evidence is so abundantly clear in favor of this condition actually occurring.  The best reason for this conumdrum is similar to the reporting of pain.  One persons' tickle is another persons' excruciating pain.  Measuring pain objectively is getting better thankfully.

My education and work background prepared me to understand the physics of this problem while my marriage to a brain aneurysm suvivior for more than 17 years allowed me to study the anatomical effects of electromagnetic fields EMF's (of which light is generated by) on the nervous system.  

You have correctly targeted one of your triggers but there may be more simply due to the proliferation of EMF's in the work environment.  In my opinion, lamp lights generally are safer because it uses an analog form of power to generate light (think of ocean waves.)  CFL's and LED's use a digital form (1's and 0's for quick on/off to stand in for the wave form) to generate light.  Digital is no doubt more efficient in light output cost.  The problem with it is that it is also more efficient at concentrating EMF's.

In most folks, EMF's don't generate pain (it's a long story to explain this part) but that dosen't mean they are unaffected just not pained by it.  

Have you ever sustained a head injury, even if it was relatively minor?  If so, is the migraine on the same side?  Are the migraines daily or just come and go?
681148 tn?1437661591
I live where I don't have a choice in the matter of whether to live with fluorescent lighting in the apartment fixtures or not.  And, the light fixtures all use "special" shaped light bulbs, rather than the screw in type.  I find that I experience more nausea associated with silent migraines under fluorescent lighting.  And, unlike incandescent light bulbs, which the powers to be decided for us and are being phased out, fluorescent light bulbs have a really nasty habit of flashing when they're ready to burn out at the end of their life.  I prefer the incandescent light bulbs, because they don't have this annoying flashing that really makes me sick.  I always get migraines when the fluorescent bulbs are ready to burn out.  Where I live, the kitchen has those standard long fluorescent tubes, like you find in office buildings.  I can't change those ones myself.  This means that when they start flickering, I have to go without light in the kitchen for however long the "management" feels like making me wait for their maintenance people to change these tubes.  I'm not happy that the powers to be decided for me which lights I have to live under.
Avatar universal
To answer your question, yes, I experienced a head injury when I was a child.  I had a collision with another bicyclist, which landed me on my head on concrete.  The result was a severe concussion and fractured skull.  I don't remember the days that followed while in the hospital.  The first memory was of waking up in my parents' bed, watching my mother walk across the room to me, and instantly being sick.
620923 tn?1452915648

This lighting issue is a problem for those with Chiari Malformation as well,,, we are all affected by florescent lights and I already know just seeing the new  LED types are not much better.....I do not understand how the gov feels it is their job to oversee what type of lights we use .....especially when so many are affected by florescent lights already.....and the disposal of these new twisty lights is not easy as they have mercury in them....how is unsafe for the environment better for all?....
Avatar universal
First let me thank the Moderator for the "Best Answer" award.  It made my day!

If you haven't seen a Neurologist in some time, it might be a good time to do so now.  The reason for this is that your Doctor may be able to provide medical guidance and help with respect to making accomodations in the workplace.  Finding a good Neurologist starts with you being able to make a good case of your medical history especially as it relates to the head injury and explaining how this relates to your current headaches and the work environment.

For your own knowledge and to rule out EMF's as a headache trigger you should consider trying following:  Use the upcoming holidays to take another type of holiday (at least a few days straight) from electrical products use including shutting down your computer, monitor, and printers (all of them),  if you watch TV try to minimize it and don't forget to turnoff the digital converter box by pulling the plug then you know it is truly off.  Keep in mind other electrical appliances like microwave ovens to electric alarm clocks give off huge amounts of EMF's Use this time to catch up on some reading or other things around the house.  I realize it's a tough thing to do but do try this.  If you live in a apartment or condo you won't have any control over what your neighbors use and unfortunately the above won't work so well because the EMF's especially the magnetic portion penetrate just about everything.

That brings me to why I originally ask about the head injury question.  Head injuries change the anatomical structure of the skull bone.  In a perfectly formed skull, it is uniquely designed to prevent electromagnetic fields from interacting with our central nervous system - the brain.  We know this because medical specialist that provide transcranial magnetic stimulation have an exceedingly difficult time generating a safe electrical dose to the brain.  In a head injury patient, a fracture or concussion changes the bone anatomy allowing ingress of EMF's thereby triggering the migraine storm.

Thanks for allowing me to provide some information aout this.  Please give the suggestion a try and see if this helps you.  I also be honored to hear your results.  

    
681148 tn?1437661591
Would EMF's also contribute to the pain associated with Fibromyalgia?
Avatar universal
Sorry, my research hasn't shown any connection.  What would be important to make this connection would be to establish a cause and effect relationship.

That's what allowed me to accurately discuss how the EMF's can trigger a migraine.  Without reproducible proof of this connection I wouldn't even consider making such a claim.
681148 tn?1437661591
That's alright.  I will do my best to limit EMF's in my apartment.  Like you said, there isn't a lot I can really do, since I have no control over what appliances and computer equipment the neighbors themselves use.  I also can't do anything about which direction the two main electrical lines go either.  I need to see if I can at least get rid of more of these migraines.
Avatar universal
I HAVE NEVER HAD MIGRAINES IN MY LIFE AND I'M 52 YEARS OLD. BUT RECENTLY I WAS IN A WALMART AROUND CHRISTMAS AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT FELT LIKE THE LIGHTS WERE FLASHING, IT SEEM EXCEEDINGLY BRIGHT, AND MY EYES EXPERIENCES WAVES OF MOVEMENT LIKE FLOATERS AND I COULD NOT SEE ANYTHING BUT THE CENTER OF WHATEVER I WAS LOOKING AT. i AM CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING THE SAME THING RIGHT NOW AT WORK. tHEY'VE CHANGED THE LIGHTING TO LED IN OUR WAREHOUSE AND NOW THIS IS HAPPENING. TODAY ONLY THOUGH. THE LIGHTS HAVE BEEN INSTALLED A COUPLE WEEKS NOW. i KNOW AT SOME POINT THERE WILL BE A DEFINATIVE STUDY ON THIS MATTER AND IT WILL BE CONNECTED.
1 Comments
Hi,

I hope that you are doing better. I’m not a doctor. I hope that you have seen a really good neurologist. The symptoms you describe could possibly be ocular migraines or could be an aura before a migraine.

If the LED lights are still causing you symptoms then please check out the comment I left above on the Fur Ball Moms post. I don’t want to clog up this page with the same information.

The just is there are 3 things that I’m aware of that might help you. FL-41 tint has been found to block out blue green wavelengths of light that are known to trigger migraines, and seizures. It also affects many other illnesses including Autism. Fluorescent lights as well as LED lights emit blue and green wavelengths of light.

The 3 companies that specializes in FL-41 filter that I have had experience with are:  Axonoptics, Theraspecs and Confort Tint. The first 2 are glass. Comfort Tint are contacts. All 3 are different colors of FL-41. What might work for you might not work for me. I have tried all 3. For me personally Axonoptics and Theraspecs didn’t work; however please don’t let that discourage you. They might work for you. Both of them used to offer money back guarantee. Comfort Tint was a miracle for me. They have made a enormous change in my life!

As for LED lights triggering your symptoms. It is possible. I had light sensitivity to fluorescent lights. At that time LED lights didn’t trigger a migraine. They did make me very irritable and uncomfortable. However a couple years ago I had a head injury and now LEDs are a trigger for me also. They are finding out blue light is causing lots of problems and it is everywhere. They have found out it is even hurting our eyesight.

Also, you talked about a 2 week period where the LED lights didn’t bother you. All migraine patients have thresholds to their triggers. So, say you were already sensitive by stress or not enough sleep. Then you can become more sensitive to a trigger or triggers.

I hope this helps someone!
Avatar universal
Mark,
I agree that the LED lights are exceedingly bright.  What strikes me about your comment however is a little more concerning.  I would encourage you to have a discussion with your Primary Care Doctor ASAP to rule out a possible blood vessel aneurysm in the brain.  The symptoms you highlight are very closely similar to what a aneurysm patient would report.  Try to have it ruled out soon.  Your Doctor will order either a CAT scan or MRI to make sure there is no growth or blockages near the optic nerves.  Let me know what you find out.  Good luck.
Ed
Avatar universal
I have electric hyper-sensitivity, but am not sure that it is the EMF's that are affecting me when I am in the lighting.  I think it is the lighting, itself.  The parking garage for our local grocery store has LED lighting.  In the daylight, I feel great, until I drive into the garage.  The second my eyes are in the garage, I get a light-headed feeling and nausea comes on.  My understanding of my condition is that it is a hyper-vigilant limbic brain, and anything that over-stimulates can trigger the stress response from the limbic brain.  LED light strobes.  The strobing can't be seen with the naked eye, but I bet that the brain sees it.  So, it is over-stimulating.  I am looking for information as to whether or not LED televisions are the same in the strobing effect as a light bulb would be.  I cannot use LED light bulbs without feeling quite ill.  My time in public stores, these days,  has to be very short.  If I can calm my limbic brain, maybe someday I'll be able to tolerate the LED lights.  Until then, I have to pace myself, and be careful. There are ways to calm the brain, but with life-long PTSD, the brain is stuck in hyper-vigilant mode, and doesn't go back to normal functioning easily.  I'm working on it!
Avatar universal
Hi Syrena,

You certainly are on the right track with the LED triggers.  LED are still considered digital because they use a series of 1 and 0 to represent on/off.  Incandescent lighting use a frequency wave to for the on/off state so the brain understands or recognizes a waveform frequency pattern because that represents what all lifeforms have been accustomed to since the beginning of time.  The human system has experienced digital formats to represent light for only a short time period since its inception and wide use (2006) and therefore many people and other lifeforms can be hyper-sensitive to its use.  One possible treatment you might consider is EEG neurofeedback.  This treatment can help the brain and central nerve system become less sensitive and less hyper when exposed to this type of lighting.  EEG Neurofeedback is also used for PTSD especially for military personnel.  ISNR and eegspectrum are two independent professional organizations that can help you learn more about this very helpful treatment.  I wish you well and please keep me posted.
Ed
Avatar universal
Maybe I just have a sensitivity to titanium, but I inadvertently found out that if I avoid ingesting titanium I have no fibromyalgia symptoms whatsoever.  This was after years of suffering fibromyalgia pain.  No titanium, no pain.  Off meds for years now (ironically the meds I was taking for the pain all had titanium in them).  
Avatar universal
Hi TK,

As a FYI, Titanium is used in many products including candy and toothpaste.  It is paramagnetic and doesn't retain a magnetic field.  But the fly in the ointment is that in the presence of a magnetic field it becomes magnetized but when the magnetic field is removed it becomes nonmagnetic.  The reason for me stating this is that when it becomes magnetized it has the ability to also create a simultaneous electric field.  In the human nervous system we can sense these very small changes and pain.    It explains, to me, why toothpaste containing titanium increases my tooth sensitivity to pain.  I changed to a paste without titanium and I no longer have the tooth pain.  I retried using a titanium paste and the pain returned.  Just thought you might want to know this fact and that it isn't psychological ills you sense but that it is very real indeed.
Ed
Avatar universal
I have had occasional migraines all of my adult life, generally triggered by certain foods.  However, after purchasing a new HD washer and dryer a year ago, I started experiencing migraines caused by looking (NOT staring) at the LED lights on the controls.  This has happened so often that there is no doubt in my mind as to the cause. I am now searching for something that I can tape over the controls that will shade but still allow me to see them.  Very, very aggravating.
Avatar universal
we just had led light in stalled they give me a head ache and nasua
Avatar universal
I had 2 brain surgeries in past 12 years due to a brain tumor. One day I bought a desk lamp to replace the old one for my reading and end up with a crushing headache next morning. I have returned the lamp the next day and bought a regular lamp with an incandescent bulb. A headache like this never returned. I read somewhere that LED lights can have an adverse effect on vision, especially for babies.
"A vision researcher from Complutense University in Madrid reports that exposure to LED lights can cause irreparable damage to the retinas of the human eye, UPI reports"
You can find more on it at http://www.livescience.com/31949-led-lights-eye-damage.html

Avatar universal
I have a similar situation. I had an office in 1995 and I removed the fluorescent lights and used an incandescent lamp due to vertigo from the flicker rate.  My office gutted the building in 2016 and put in LED and CFL and my vertigo, head pain, fog, nausea etc increased to be severe and I had to retire in 2019.  You may find Some recent research by Naomi Miller in July 2019 seems to explain some problems with LED lighting. The research is published at the Illuminating Engineering Society’s website.  Jeff
2 Comments
Hi,

I honestly am just hoping this information helps one person. I have responded to a couple people’s comments above. Please see them for more information. I hate to sound like a broken record.

I’m very sorry you are suffering! I would like to let you know about 3 options that are available. I have no stake whatsoever in any of these companies. This comes from my own personal experience.

There are 3 companies that I’m aware of that specializes in FL-41 tint. It filters out the blue and green wavelengths of light that are triggers for migraine, seizure, autistic and many other medical problems. These 3 companies all make different versions of FL-41. The 1st one I tried was Axionoptics. The 2nd was Theraspecs. The 3rd Comfort Tint. The first two are glasses. The last is contacts.  Each person is different and what works for one person might not work for the other. They are all 3 different colors. All of them are money back guarantee at least they used to be. Which is wonderful because you can try them and if doesn’t work you haven’t lost anything. I can’t explain how much it has changed my life. The Comfort Tint is the one that is my miracle.

Oh and if anyone is doesn’t want to try these options. For years before I found any of these companies I wore amber tinted sunglasses in fluorescent light. It helped for a little while but I still would get a migraine. Now with Comfort Tint I can go in fluorescent as well as LED lights as long as I have my contacts in and I am extremely light sensitive!

I really hopes this helps you and that you can find some relief!  
Hi, thank you for the recommendation for the FL-41 tint, I have now tried them and while the do help, I still get vertigo while exposed to LED lights, seems like the flicker rate could be the problem for me. I have always had difficulty with fluorescent lights after about 6 hours of exposure but with certain LEDs, especially the blue ones can cause immediate vertigo for me. I think these glasses will help some and I appreciate your advice.
Avatar universal
I would be interested in discussing LED and CFL lights that cause migraines and vertigo via direct email with anyone who experiences similar symptoms. I’m fine with incandescent lights but can’t handle LEDs and CFLs. I understand privacy and that perhaps most would not want to chat directly but if anyone wants to talk more in detail about this, I’m Jeff at ***@****.
1 Comments
I can see this app/website masked my email address and I understand that, but disappointed I can’t reach out to others. I’m jep437 and use yahoo mail.
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