Comparison of photobiomodulation therapy and suprascapular nerve-pulsed radiofrequency in chronic shoulder pain: a randomized controlled, single-blind, clinical trial

Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Nov;32(8):1719-1726. doi: 10.1007/s10103-017-2237-3. Epub 2017 May 25.


Shoulder pain can be difficult to treat due to its complex anatomic structure, and different treatment methods can be used. We aimed to examine the efficacy of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) and suprascapular nerve (SSN)-pulsed radiofrequency (RF) therapy. In this prospective, randomized, controlled, single-blind study, 59 patients with chronic shoulder pain due to impingement syndrome received PBMT (group H) or SSN-pulsed RF therapy (group P) in addition to exercise therapy for 14 sessions over 2 weeks. Records were taken using visual analog scale (VAS), Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), and Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) scoring systems for pretreatment (PRT), posttreatment (PST), and PST follow-up at months 1, 3, and 6. There was no statistically significant difference in initial VAS score, SPADI, and NHP values between group H and group P (p > 0.05). Compared to the values of PRT, PST, and PST at months 1, 3, and 6, VAS, SPADI, and NHP values were statistically significantly lower in both groups (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference at all measurement times in VAS, SPADI, and NHP between the two groups. We established that PBMT and SSN-pulsed RF therapy are effective methods, in addition to exercise therapy, in patients with chronic shoulder pain. PBMT seems to be advantageous compared to SSN-pulsed RF therapy, as it is a noninvasive method.

Keywords: Chronic shoulder pain; Photobiomodulation therapy; Pulsed radiofrequency; Suprascapular nerve.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / radiotherapy*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulsed Radiofrequency Treatment / methods*
  • Shoulder / innervation*
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome / therapy
  • Shoulder Pain / radiotherapy*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Visual Analog Scale