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Open Orthop J. 2013 Sep 20;7:396-419. doi: 10.2174/1874325001307010396. eCollection 2013.

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) for Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression.

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McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.



This systematic review update evaluated low level laser therapy (LLLT) for adults with neck pain.


Computerized searches (root up to Feb 2012) included pain, function/disability, quality of life (QoL) and global perceived effect (GPE). GRADE, effect-sizes, heterogeneity and meta-regression were assessed.


Of 17 trials, 10 demonstrated high risk of bias. For chronic neck pain, there was moderate quality evidence (2 trials, 109 participants) supporting LLLT over placebo to improve pain/disability/QoL/GPE up to intermediate-term (IT). For acute radiculopathy, cervical osteoarthritis or acute neck pain, low quality evidence suggested LLLT improves ST pain/function/QoL over a placebo. For chronic myofascial neck pain (5 trials, 188 participants), evidence was conflicting; a meta-regression of heterogeneous trials suggests super-pulsed LLLT increases the chance of a successful pain outcome.


We found diverse evidence using LLLT for neck pain. LLLT may be beneficial for chronic neck pain/function/QoL. Larger long-term dosage trials are needed.


Low level laser therapy; neck pain; systematic review.

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