Migraines and Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) – More Case Studies

Dear Pain Matters blog readers,

Despite being common, migraines are often difficult to manage as their underlying reasons are frequently unknown.

Low level laser therapy (LLLT; also known as cold laser therapy) may alleviate some migraines in certain cases.

Case Studies by Lee et al:

(1) A study involving 32 chronic migraine patients (10 males, 22 females; mean age 44.1, aged 21 to 67) was performed.  Most patients had unpleasant pressure and/or pulsating pain as well as tender areas and/or swelling around the head and in the frontal and temporal areas.

Clinical histories that (likely) caused migraines included motor vehicle accidents, sports and other injuries (e.g. falls) and trauma (e.g. birth trauma).  Injuries included muscle-tendon tears and ligament insertion injuries (i.e. possible tearing of Sharpey’s fibres at the periosteal-osseous junctions) in the head and neck areas.

Painless low level laser therapy (LLLT; near infrared 830 nm wavelength) was directly applied to injury/trauma-affected anatomical sites in the head/neck regions (30 to 100 mW, 1 – 2 minutes per damaged region).

All patients benefited from LLLT treatment including significantly reduced pain in some patients and complete elimination of pain and tenderness in other patients.  Decreased edema and relaxed muscles resulted at the tender sites within 1-5 minutes following LLLT treatment.

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) treatment resulted in nil adverse effects including no toxicity (Lee et al).

(2) An earlier study with 9 female migraineurs (mean age 49.4, aged 41 to 60) reported similarly impressive results.  Specifically, overall mean pain scores reduced from 7.2 to 4.3 following LLLT treatment for 10 minutes maximum to the frontal, temporal and/or occipital areas.  Three (3) of 9 patients enjoyed nil migraine pain, post-LLLT.

No side effects were reported (Lee et al).

NB It is not known how long the pain relief lasted, post-LLLT treatment, as this was not reported in these 2 studies.


Targeted low level laser therapy (LLLT; 830 nm wavelength) may offer effective and safe pain relief from migraines.

Sabina Walker

“Sedare dolorem divinum opus est”

“It is divine to alleviate pain”

Galen, 130-200 C.E.


(1A) Lee, Garrett; Wong, Edmund; Choy, Norman; Mason, Dean T

Safety and Efficacy of Treatment of Common Migrainous Headaches Applying the Low Power Laser by the Principles and Methods of Wong

San Francisco, CA


(1B) Seymore, Brian L; Cappelletti, Ryan J

A Brief Synopsis of the Research on Cold Laser Therapy (Low Level Laser Therapy) (Pages 6-7)


(2) Lee, Garrett; Zucherman, James; Mason, Dean T

Application of the Low Power Laser in a Single-Blind Randomised Trial in Migrainous Headache Patients

St. Mary’s Spine Center, San Francisco, CA



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