Laser photobiomodulation is more effective than ultrasound therapy in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain: a comparative study

Lasers Med Sci. 2019 Jun;34(4):793-800. doi: 10.1007/s10103-018-2665-8. Epub 2018 Oct 17.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of laser photobiomodulation therapy (lPBMt) and ultrasound therapy (UST) in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain (CNLBP). Forty-five patients with CNLBP aged 30-40 years were divided randomly into three groups of 15 subjects each. The lPBMt group received 8 weeks of lPBMt with an exercise program, while the UST group received 8 weeks of UST with the same exercise program; the control group received only the exercise program for 8 weeks. Pain, disability, functional performance, and lumbar range of motion were assessed at the beginning of the study and after 8 weeks. There were no significant differences in demographic and clinical characteristics among the three groups at baseline (p > 0.05). At the end of the study, there were significant improvements in pain, disability, and functional performance in the two experimental groups (p < 0.05), but changes in the control group were non-significant. However, lumbar range of motion was significantly improved only in the lPBMt group (p < 0.05). When the three groups were compared in terms of a change in clinical variables, there was a significant difference among the three groups in all measures in favor of lPBMt group. Based on our results, both lPBMt or UST combined with an 8-week exercise program seemed to be effective methods for decreasing pain, reducing disability, and increasing functional performance in patients with CNLBP, although lPBMt is more effective than UST.

Keywords: Disability; Laser photobiomodulation therapy; Low back pain; Ultrasound therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / radiotherapy
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy*
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*