Efficacy of Low-level Laser Versus High-intensity Laser Therapy in the Management of Adhesive Capsulitis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Saudi J Med Med Sci. 2023 Jul-Sep;11(3):201-207. doi: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_626_22. Epub 2023 Jul 15.


Background: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and high-intensity laser therapy (HILT) are effective in alleviating pain and improving functionality in patients with adhesive capsulitis (AC); however, no study has compared the efficacy of these two laser treatments.

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of LLLT and HILT in improving the shoulder joint range of motion and functional status and in reducing pain level in patients with AC.

Trial design: Prospective, randomized, parallel group, patient- and assessor-blinded.

Methods: A total of 45 patients (aged: 18-65 years) with complaint of shoulder pain were evaluated for inclusion criteria, which included being aged 18-65 years and a diagnosis of AC based on physical examinations. Using computer-generated random numbers, eligible patients were randomized into two groups: HILT + stretching exercise and LLLT + stretching exercise groups. Both HILT and LLLT were performed three times/week for 3 weeks. Functional status and pain of the patients were evaluated with Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) and Visual Analog Scale (VAS), while shoulder joint range of motion was measured with goniometry. All assessments were done before and 3 weeks after treatment.

Results: A total of 40 patients (20 in each group) completed the study. At baseline, there was no statistically significant difference in the demographic and clinical characteristics between both groups. Both the LLLT and HILT groups showed significant improvement in the VAS and SPADI scores 3 weeks after treatment; however, the improvement was significantly higher in the HILT group than the LLLT group. There was no significant improvement in goniometric scores in both groups compared with baseline. No injury or other musculoskeletal complications were recorded during or after the treatments.

Conclusion: HILT + stretching exercise treatment was more effective than LLLT + stretching exercise for improving functional parameters and pain in patients with AC.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05469672.

Funding: None.

Keywords: Adhesive capsulitis; functional status; high-intensity laser therapy; low-level laser therapy; pain; range of motion.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT05469672