Alpha‐range visual and auditory stimulation reduces the perception of pain

Ecsy, K, Jones, A and Brown, CA ORCID: 0000-0003-1414-2635
(2017) Alpha‐range visual and auditory stimulation reduces the perception of pain. European Journal of Pain, 21 (3). 562 - 572.

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Background:Alpha power is believed to have an inverse relationship withthe perception of pain. Increasing alpha power through an external stimulusmay, therefore, induce an analgesic effect. Here, we attempt to modulate theperception of a moderately painful acute laser stimulus by separatelyentraining three frequencies across the alpha band: 8, 10 and 12 Hz.Methods:Participants were exposed to either visual or auditorystimulation at three frequencies in the alpha-band range and a controlfrequency. We collected verbal pain ratings of laser stimuli fromparticipants following 10 minutes of flashing LED goggle stimulation and10 minutes of binaural beat stimulation across the alpha range.Alterations in sleepiness, anxiety and negative mood were recordedfollowing each auditory or visual alpha-rhythm stimulation session.Results:A significant reduction in pain ratings was found after boththe visual and the auditory stimulation across all three frequenciescompared with the control condition. In the visual group, a significantlylarger reduction was recorded following the 10-Hz stimulation thansucceeding the 8- and 12-Hz conditions.Conclusions:This study suggests that a short presentation of auditoryand visual stimuli, oscillating in the alpha range, have an analgesiceffect on acute laser pain, with the largest effect following the 10-Hzvisual stimulation. Pain reductions following stimulation in the alpharange are independent of sleepiness, anxiety, and negative moods.Significance:This study provides new behavioural evidence showingthat visual and auditory entrainment of frequencies in the alpha-waverange can influence the perception of acute pain in humans.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 08:40
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 15:11
DOI: 10.1002/ejp.960
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