The effectiveness of low laser therapy in subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomized placebo controlled double-blind prospective study

Sebnem Koldas Dogan, Saime Ay, Deniz Evcik
Clinics 2010, 65 (10): 1019-22

OBJECTIVES: Conflicting results were reported about the effectiveness of Low level laser therapy on musculoskeletal disorders. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of 850-nm gallium arsenide aluminum (Ga-As-Al) laser therapy on pain, range of motion and disability in subacromial impingement syndrome.

METHODS: A total of 52 patients (33 females and 19 males with a mean age of 53.59 ± 11.34 years) with subacromial impingement syndrome were included. The patients were randomly assigned into two groups. Group I (n = 30, laser group) received laser therapy (5 joule/cm² at each point over maximum 5-6 painful points for 1 minute). Group II (n = 22, placebo laser group) received placebo laser therapy. Initially cold pack (10 minutes) was applied to all of the patients. Also patients were given an exercise program including range of motion, stretching and progressive resistive exercises. The therapy program was applied 5 times a week for 14 sessions. Pain severity was assessed by using visual analogue scale. Range of motion was measured by goniometer. Disability was evaluated by using Shoulder Pain and Disability Index.

RESULTS: In group I, statistically significant improvements in pain severity, range of motion except internal and external rotation and SPADI scores were observed compared to baseline scores after the therapy (p < 0.05). In Group II, all parameters except range of motion of external rotation were improved (p < 0.05). However, no significant differences were recorded between the groups (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The Low level laser therapy seems to have no superiority over placebo laser therapy in reducing pain severity, range of motion and functional disability.


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