Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy and ultrasound therapy in the treatment of subacromial impingement syndrome.
Materials and methods: Thirty one patients with subacromial impingement syndrome were randomly assigned to low-level laser therapy group (n=16) and ultrasound therapy group (n=15). Study participants received 10 treatment sessions of low-level laser therapy or ultrasound therapy over a period of two-consecutive weeks (five days per week). Outcome measures (visual analogue pain scale, Shoulder Pain and Disability Index -SPADI-, patient's satisfactory level and sleep interference score) were assessed before treatment and at the 1st and 3rd months after treatment. All patients were analyzed by the intent-to-treat principle.
Results: Mean reduction in VAS pain, SPADI disability and sleep interference scores from baseline to after 1 month, and 3 months of treatment was statistically significant in both groups (P< 0.05). However, there was no significant difference in the mean change in VAS pain, SPADI disability and sleep interference scores between the two groups (P > 0.05). The mean level of patient satisfaction in group 1 at the first and third months after treatment was 72.45 ± 23.45 mm and 71.50 ± 16.54 mm, respectively. The mean level of patient satisfaction in group 2 at the first and third months after treatment was 70.38 ± 21.52 mm and 72.09 ± 13.42 mm, respectively. There was no significant difference in the mean level of patient satisfaction between the two groups (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: The results suggest that efficacy of both treatments were comparable to each other in regarding reducing pain severity and functional disability in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome. Based on our findings, we conclude that low-level laser therapy may be considered as an effective alternative to ultrasound based therapy in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome especially ultrasound based therapy is contraindicated.
Keywords: Low energy laser; disability; subacromial impingement syndrome; ultrasound treatment.