Low power laser in the treatment of the acute low back pain

Vojnosanit Pregl. 2011 Jan;68(1):57-61.  [Article in Serbian]

Mandić MRancié N.

BACKGROUND/AIM: Acute low back pain (ALBP) is one of the most frequent painful conditions in the human population. The objective of the paper was to compare the efficacy of the low power laser (LPL) in the pain and the muscular spasm reduction with conservative methods of physical medicine.

METHOD: The prospective cohort study was done. The study involved 70 patients, both men and women, from 25 to 64 years of age with the diagnosis of ALBP. Two groups were formed. There were 40 patients in the first group and they were treated with the LPL with frequency of 73 Hz. The second group was the control one and it consisted of 30 patients who were treated with conservative methods of physical medicine (electrotherapy: diadynamic currents CP +/- 3 and CP +/- 3, interferent currents--90 Hz for 15 min; electrophoresis with novocaine). The ALBP were diagnosed by clinical examination and by the nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI). The low power laser--Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) was used. The laser sonde consisted of 4 laser diodes, each powered of 15 mW, wavelength 904 nm and with frequency 73 Hz. The total period of time for each treatment was 10 minutes and the total dose per treatment was 15 J. The intensity of acute low back pain was assessed by Roland's scale. The degree of the spasm was assessed in the relaxed position and during movements.

RESULTS: The average score in the first group before the onset of rehabilitation was 3.3 +/- 1.1 (Me = 3.0), and in the control group was 3.43 +/- 0.89 (Me = 3.0). After five treatments in patients who were treated with LPL the average score in Roland's scale was decreased (1.12 +/- 1.3, Me = 2.0) and in the control group there were no changes. After 10 treatments with the LPL the analgesic effect was obtained in 82.5% of patients from the first group and in 20% of patients in the control group. The analgesic effect in patients of the first group was obtained after 7.5 +/- 2.1 treatments and in the second group after 17.9 +/- 3.2 treatments. The difference was statistically significant (t = 15.652173, p < 0.001). The spasm disappeared in 92.5% of patients in the first group and in 20% of patients in the control group after 7.02 +/- 2.2 and 17.9 +/- 3.2 treatments respectively. The difference was statistically significant (t = 15.652173, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The pain and spasm reduction were obtained in the greater number of patients by usage of the LPL than by usage of conservative methods of physical medicine.

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