Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of low-level laser treatment and local corticosteroid injection in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome.
Design: Controlled clinical trial.
Setting: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation outpatient clinic.
Subjects: One hundred thirty-five patients with subacromial impingement syndrome.
Intervention: The patients were allocated to three groups: local corticosteroid injection (group I); sham laser treatment (group II); and low-level laser treatment (group III). Low-level laser treatment was performed three times per week for a total of nine sessions. Local corticosteroid injections were administered twice, with an interval of 10 days between each. The patients were assessed at pre-treatment, post-treatment and three and six months after the first visit.
Main measures: The primary outcome of the study was pain intensity (visual analog scale) during activity and at rest. The secondary outcomes were, shoulder functional status and quality of life measured by the University of California at Los Angeles rating score (UCLA) and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) scale respectively.
Results: Significant differences were observed between groups I and II and between groups II and III regarding pain during activity and at rest scores at all of the visits (p<0.05). Nevertheless, significant improvement was observed between groups I and III regarding pain during activity only at post-treatment (p=0.013). The UCLA scores were significantly changed in all three study groups at all of the visits (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The effectiveness of low-level laser treatment was similar to that of local corticosteroid injection in patients with subacromial impingement syndrome. We concluded that both low-level laser treatment and corticosteroid injection were more effective than sham laser treatment.
Keywords: Low-level laser treatment; corticosteroid injection; sham laser; subacromial impingement syndrome; treatment.
© The Author(s) 2014.