Effects of low-power laser exposure on masseter muscle pain and microcirculation

Pain. 2003 Sep;105(1-2):89-96. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3959(03)00166-0.


One possible cause of the reported positive treatment effect by low-power laser exposure in muscle pain conditions could be that it increases the local microcirculation. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the immediate effects on masseter muscle blood flow by low-power laser exposure in patients with chronic orofacial pain of muscular origin in comparison to healthy individuals. Twelve patients with myofascial pain of orofacial muscles and 12 age and gender matched healthy individuals participated in the study. Before laser exposure the subjects were examined clinically and the patients scored their current pain intensity from the most tender masseter muscle. Intramuscular laser-Doppler flowmetry was performed unilaterally in the most tender point (patients) or in a standardized point (healthy subjects) of the masseter muscle. The muscle was first exposed with a Gallium-Aluminum-Arsenide laser (active laser) or placebo laser for 2 min in a randomized and double-blind manner. After another 8 min the muscle was treated with the other laser for 2 min and the LDF recording continued for 8 min. Finally, the patients again assessed the pain intensity. Data were analyzed blindly by one of the authors not participating in data collection. The pain intensity was not affected by laser exposure. The blood flow did not change significantly in the patients, but increased after active laser exposure and decreased after placebo exposure in the healthy individuals. The difference between active laser and placebo was significant. In conclusion, the results of this study do not support an effect of low-power laser exposure on masseter muscle microcirculation in patients with chronic orofacial pain of muscular origin.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Muscles*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry
  • Masseter Muscle / blood supply*
  • Masseter Muscle / physiopathology*
  • Masseter Muscle / radiation effects
  • Microcirculation / radiation effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / radiotherapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Regional Blood Flow / radiation effects