Objective: In this study I sought to test the efficacy of low-power laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with frozen shoulder.
Background data: The use of low-level laser energy has been recommended for the management of a variety of musculoskeletal disorders.
Materials and methods: Sixty-three patients with frozen shoulder were randomly assigned into one of two groups. In the active laser group (n = 31), patients were treated with a 810-nm Ga-Al-As laser with a continuous output of 60 mW applied to eight points on the shoulder for 30 sec each, for a total dose of 1.8 J per point and 14.4 J per session. In the placebo group (n = 32), patients received placebo laser treatment. During 8 wk of treatment, the patients in each group received 12 sessions of laser or placebo, two sessions per week (for weeks 1-4), and one session per week (for weeks 5-8).
Results: Relative to the placebo group, the active laser group had: (1) a significant decrease in overall, night, and activity pain scores at the end of 4 wk and 8 wk of treatment, and at the end of 8 wk additional follow-up (16 wk post-randomization); (2) a significant decrease in shoulder pain and disability index (SPADI) scores and Croft shoulder disability questionnaire scores at those same intervals; (3) a significant decrease in disability of arm, shoulder, and hand questionnaire (DASH) scores at the end of 8 wk of treatment, and at 16 wk posttreatment; and (4) a significant decrease in health-assessment questionnaire (HAQ) scores at the end of 4 wk and 8 wk of treatment. There was some improvement in range of motion, but this did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusions: The results suggested that laser treatment was more effective in reducing pain and disability scores than placebo at the end of the treatment period, as well as at follow-up.