Light-emitting diode photobiomodulation therapy for non-specific low back pain in working nurses: A single-center, double-blind, prospective, randomized controlled trial

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Aug 7;99(32):e21611. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000021611.


Background: Low back pain (LBP) affects approximately 51% to 57% of hospital nurses and nurses' aides in Europe. New high-risk groups include home- and long-term-care nurses and physiotherapists. A number of European countries are experiencing a shortage of healthcare workers. Light therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for various musculoskeletal disorders, including lateral epicondylitis, temporomandibular joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and delayed-onset muscle soreness. A systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that low-level laser therapy is an effective method for relieving non-specific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP). However, the efficacy of light-emitting diode (LED) therapy for NSCLBP is disputed. This study aims to evaluate the effect of LED therapy on NSCLBP.

Methods and analysis: We conducted a prospective, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial of 148 patients with NSCLBP. The patients were randomly assigned to 2 groups: intervention group, where patients received LED photobiomodulation therapy 3 times a week for 2 weeks, and the sham group, where patients had sham therapy 3 times a week for 2 weeks. Primary outcome measures included the visual analog scale for pain, lumbar active range of motion assessments, and chair-rising times. Secondary outcome measures included a multidimensional fatigue inventory, fear-avoidance beliefs questionnaire, and the Oswestry disability index. The outcome measures were assessed before therapy and 2weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months after the first interventions were completed.

Discussion: This study is a prospective, single-center, double-blind, randomized, controlled study. This study aims to research the efficacy of a 2-week LED program for NSCLBP working nurse. Our results will be useful for patients, working nurses, nurses' aides, and other healthcare workers with chronic low back pain.

Trial registration number: NCT04424823.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / therapy
  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pain Management / standards
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Analog Scale

Associated data