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Investigation of the effect of GaAs laser therapy on cervical myofascial pain syndrome

Lale Altan, Umit Bingöl, Mehtap Aykaç, Merih Yurtkuran
Rheumatology International 2005, 25 (1): 23-7
14673617
Low-energy laser therapy has been applied in several rheumatoid and soft tissue disorders with varying rates of success. The objective of our study was to investigate the effect of laser therapy on cervical myofascial pain syndrome with a placebo-controlled double-blind prospective study model. It was performed with a total of 53 patients (35 females and 18 males) with cervical myofascial pain syndrome. In group 1 (n = 23), GaAs laser treatment was applied over three trigger points bilaterally and also one point in the taut bands in trapezius muscle bilaterally with a frequency of 1000 Hz for 2 min over each point once a day for 10 days during a period of 2 weeks. In group 2 (n = 25), the same treatment protocol was given, but the laser instrument was switched off during applications. All patients in both groups were instructed to perform daily isometric exercises and stretching just short of pain for 2 weeks at home. Evaluations were performed just before treatment (week 0), immediately after (week 2), and 12 weeks later (week 14). Evaluation parameters included pain, algometric measurements, and cervical lateral flexion. Statistical analysis was done on data collected from three evaluation stages. The results were evaluated in 48 patients (32 females, 16 males). Week 2 and week 14 results showed significant improvement in all parameters for both groups. However, comparison of the percentage changes both immediately and 12 weeks after treatment did not show a significant difference relative to pretreatment values. In conclusion, the results of our study have not shown the superiority of GaAs laser therapy over placebo in the treatment of cervical myofascial pain syndrome, but we suggest that further studies on this topic be done using different laser types and dosages in larger patient populations.

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