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Photomed Laser Surg. 2014 Sep;32(9):490-4. doi: 10.1089/pho.2014.3715.

Effect of diode laser in the treatment of patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.

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1 Galliera Hospital , Genoa, Italy .



Low back pain is a common, highly debilitating condition, whose severity is variable. This study evaluated the efficacy of treatment with Ga-Al-As diode laser (980 nm) with a large diameter spot (32 cm(2)), in association with exercise therapy, in reducing pain.


The present study aimed to evaluate the pain reduction efficacy of treatment with the Ga-Al-As diode laser (980 nm) in combination with exercise therapy, in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP).


This study evaluated 100 patients with CLBP (mean age 60 years) who were randomly assigned to two groups. The laser plus exercises group (Laser+EX: 50 patients) received low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with a diode laser, 980 nm, with a specific handpiece [32 cm(2) irradiation spot size, power 20 W in continuous wave (CW), fluence 37.5J/cm(2), total energy per point 1200 J] thrice weekly, and followed a daily exercise schedule for 3 weeks (5 days/week). The exercises group (EX: 50 patients) received placebo laser therapy plus daily exercises. The outcome was evaluated on the visual analogue pain scale (VAS), before and after treatment.


At the end of the 3 week period, the Laser+EX group showed a significantly greater decrease in pain than did the EX group. There was a significant difference between the two groups, with average Δ VAS scores of 3.96 (Laser+EX group) and 2.23 (EX group). The Student's t test demonstrated a statistically significant difference between the two groups, at p<0.001.


This study demonstrated that the use of diode laser (980 nm) with large diameter spot size, in association with exercise therapy, appears to be effective. Such treatment might be considered a valid therapeutic option within rehabilitation programs for nonspecific CLBP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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