Objective: The semiconductor or laser diode (GaAs, 904 nm) is the most appropriate choice in pain reduction therapy.
Summary background data: Low-power density laser acts on the prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, increasing the change of PGG2 and PGH2 into PG12 (also called prostacyclin, or epoprostenol). The last is the main product of the arachidonic acid into the endothelial cells and into the smooth muscular cells of vessel walls, that have a vasodilating and anti-inflammatory action.
Methods: Treatment was performed on 372 patients (206 women and 166 men) during the period between May 1987 and January 1997. The patients, whose ages ranged from 25 to 70 years, with a mean age of 45 years, suffered from rheumatic, degenerative, and traumatic pathologies as well as cutaneous ulcers. The majority of patients had been seen by orthopedists and rheumatologists and had undergone x-ray examination. All patients had received drug-based treatment and/or physiotherapy with poor results; 5 patients had also been irradiated with He:Ne and CO2 lasers. Two-thirds were experiencing acute symptomatic pain, while the others suffered long-term pathology with recurrent crises. We used a pulsed diode laser, GaAs 904 nm wavelength once per day for 5 consecutive days, followed by a 2-day interval. The average number of applications was 12. We irradiated the trigger points, access points to the joint, and striated muscles adjacent to relevant nerve roots.
Results: We achieved very good results, especially in cases of symptomatic osteoarthritis of the cervical vertebrae, sport-related injuries, epicondylitis, and cutaneous ulcers, and with cases of osteoarthritis of the coxa.
Conclusions: Treatment with 904-nm diode laser has substantially reduced the symptoms as well as improved the quality of life of these patient, ultimately postponing the need for surgery.