Treatment of myofascial pain with a rapid laser therapy protocol compared to occlusal splint: A double-blind, randomized clinical trial

Cranio. 2022 Sep;40(5):433-439. doi: 10.1080/08869634.2020.1773661. Epub 2020 Jun 3.


Objective: To compare the effect of a rapid low-level laser therapy (LLLT) protocol to Michigan occlusal splint in the treatment of myofascial pain, as well as to evaluate their impact on Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL).

Methods: Thirty participants were randomly allocated into three groups: G1: occlusal splint (n = 11), G2: LLLT (n = 10), and G3: LLLT placebo (n = 9). LLLT and placebo were applied in the points of pain upon palpation.

Results: G1 presented improvement in pain (p = 0.014) and in the diagnosis of myofascial pain (p = 0.008), while G2 and G3 did not. Regarding OHRQoL, G1 and G2 presented significant improvement (p = 0.005, in both), whereas, G3 did not.

Conclusion: Michigan occlusal splint was effective in reducing pain and improving OHRQoL. Treatment with the rapid LLLT protocol only provided an improvement in OHRQoL.

Keywords: Temporomandibular joint disorders; low level laser therapy; myofascial pain syndromes; occlusal splints.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy* / methods
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes* / therapy
  • Occlusal Splints
  • Pain
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome