Background and aims: In previous studies, we successfully applied Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in patients with non-specific chronic pain of the shoulder joint and lower back. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effectiveness of LLLT for chronic joint pain of the elbow, wrist, and fingers.
Subjects and methods: Nine male and 15 female patients with chronic joint pain of the elbow, wrist, or fingers, who were treated at the rehabilitation outpatient clinic at our hospital from April, 2007 to March, 2009 were enrolled in the study. We used a 1000 mW semiconductor laser device. Each tender point and three points around it were irradiated with laser energy. Each point was irradiated twice for 20 s per treatment, giving a total of three minutes for all 4 points. Patients visited the clinic twice a week, and were evaluated after four weeks of treatment. Pain was evaluated with a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Statistical analysis of the VAS scores after laser irradiation was performed with Wilcoxon's signed rank sum test, using SPSS Ver.17.
Results: All VAS scores were totaled and statistically analyzed. The average VAS score before irradiation was 59.2±12.9, and 33.1±12.2 after the irradiation, showing a significant improvement in VAS score (p<0.001) after treatment. The treatment effect lasted for about one and a half days in the case of wrist pain, epicondylitis lateralis (tennis elbow), and carpal tunnel syndrome. In other pain entities, it lasted for about three to fifteen hours. No change in the range of motion (ROM) was seen in any of the 24 subjects.
Conclusion: We concluded that LLLT at the wavelength and parameters used in the present study was effective for chronic pain of the elbow, wrist, and fingers.
Keywords: Chronic Pain; Elbow, Wrist and Finger Pain Patients; Low Level Laser Therapy.