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Pain Med. 2010 Aug;11(8):1169-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2010.00907.x.

Low-level laser therapy for acute neck pain with radiculopathy: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study.

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Clinic for Rehabilitation, Medical School, University of Belgrade, Sokobanjska 13, Belgrade, Serbia.



The objective of the study was to investigate clinical effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with acute neck pain with radiculopathy.


Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.


The study was carried out between January 2005 and September 2007 at the Clinic for Rehabilitation at the Medical School, University of Belgrade, Serbia.


Sixty subjects received a course of 15 treatments over 3 weeks with active or an inactivated laser as a placebo procedure. LLLT was applied to the skin projection at the anatomical site of the spinal segment involved with the following parameters: wavelength 905 nm, frequency 5,000 Hz, power density of 12 mW/cm(2), and dose of 2 J/cm(2), treatment time 120 seconds, at whole doses 12 J/cm(2).


The primary outcome measure was pain intensity as measured by a visual analog scale. Secondary outcome measures were neck movement, neck disability index, and quality of life. Measurements were taken before treatment and at the end of the 3-week treatment period.


Statistically significant differences between groups were found for intensity of arm pain (P = 0.003, with high effect size d = 0.92) and for neck extension (P = 0.003 with high effect size d = 0.94).


LLLT gave more effective short-term relief of arm pain and increased range of neck extension in patients with acute neck pain with radiculopathy in comparison to the placebo procedure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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