Pilot Study on The Effects of Low Level Laser Therapy Treatment for Acute and Persistent Discomfort

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      Research Objectives

      To examine the effects of LLLT upon pain and patient reported function.


      Study participants underwent examination to determine appropriateness for the use of LLLT. Data was collected initially by a physical therapist followed by application of 12 sessions of LLLT. Data was again collected by a physical therapist following completion of LLLT treatment.


      This study was performed within an interprofessional clinic located on a college campus.


      Study participants included adults recruited from a college campus and surrounding community. Inclusion criteria included being at least 18 years of age and be experiencing pain in a muscle or joint.


      Study participants received 12 sessions of LLLT using a class 3B laser device. The device used in the study delivered light therapy using a handheld probe which included a combination of LED and laser diodes. LLLT dosage varied according to the anatomical location treated and was based upon guidelines developed by WALT.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Pain was measured using the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) pre- and post-treatment. Function was measured using the Patient-Specific Functional Scale pre- and post-treatment.


      Participants included 31 adults (22 females, 9 males) ranging from 29 to 77 years old, with average age 55 years. Study participants presented with reports of pain in various anatomical location (NPRS for worst pain ranging from 2 to 9). Hip and thigh region pain represented the most commonly reported area of discomfort among study participants, present in 7 of 31 subjects (or 23%). Significant improvements were noted in Current, Best, and Worst reported pain ratings, median of differences from pre to post of -2, -1, and -2 (p < 0.01). Significant improvements were also observed in the Patient-Specific Function Scale measurements, median of differences from pre to post of +1 for first and second listed activities (p < 0.01).


      LLLT had a positive effect upon numeric pain ratings and reported function in adults with pain.

      Author(s) Disclosures

      No conflicts of interest have been identified or reported by any of the researchers associated with this study.


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