Comparative analysis of analgesic efficacy of selected physiotherapy methods in low back pain patients

Ortop Traumatol Rehabil. 2010 May-Jun;12(3):225-36.
[Article in English, Polish]


Background: Low back pain syndromes are one of the most frequent causes of movement limitation in populations of highly industrialized countries. They are listed as the main cause of inability to work among people of working age. Chronic pain and the associated limitation of movement underlie the quest for effective therapies. The use of ultrasound, LLLT, vacuum therapy with Ultra Reiz current in physical therapy of these patients prompts research over their effectiveness in the therapy of patients with low-back pain. The aim of the work was to evaluate the analgesic efficacy of LLLT, ultrasound, and vacuum therapy with Ultra Reiz current in patients with low back pain.

Material and methods: The study involved 94 people divided into three groups (A,B,C). Group A (n=35) received a series of 10 low energy laser therapy sessions (wave length 808 nm, surface density of radiation 510 mW/cm(2), continuous wave form, scanning mode, a dose of 12 J/cm(2) on a surface of 100 cm(2) [10x10cm]). Patients in Group B (n=27) had ultrasound sessions with a wave intensity of 1 W/cm(2) for 3 minutes. Patients in Group C (n=32) underwent vacuum therapy (8 kPa) combined with Ultra Reiz current. Subjective pain assessment was carried out using a modified Latinen questionnaire and a visual analogue scale of pain intensity. Lumbosacral spine mobility was evaluated with the Schober test and the finger-to- floor test.

Results: In Group A, following low energy laser therapy, a statistically significant decrease in pain intensity was observed, together with decreased analgesic consumption compared to the other groups. In Group C, following vacuum therapy combined with Ultra Reiz currents, a significant decrease in the frequency of pain was observed together with increased physical activity compared to both Groups A and B, assessed according to a modified Laitinen pain indicator questionnaire. The biggest improvement in global spine mobility and lumbosacral flexion was observed in Group C (vacuum therapy plus Ultra Reiz current) compared to the other groups. However, the most significant improvement in lower spine extension was noted in Group B (ultrasound).

Conclusions: 1. The study showed slightly higher analgesic efficacy of laser biostimulation in comparison to vacuum therapy combined with Ultra Reiz current in patients with low back pain. 2. A more prominent increase in lumbosacral spine mobility was observed after vacuum therapy combined with Ultra Reiz current and ultrasound therapy.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*
  • Young Adult