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Laser Therapy Seems to Relieve Neck Pain
Date:11/13/2009

Large, double-blind study needed to confirm results of review, American expert says

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Low-level laser therapy appears to ease a common form of neck pain, a review of studies finds.

"It is effective against non-specific pain arising from the muscles and the joints, where there is not a clear cause, such as a herniated disc," said Jan M. Bjordal, a professor of physiotherapy at Bergen University College in Norway and a member of an international team reporting the review in the Nov. 13 online issue of The Lancet.

The group, led by Dr. Roberta Chow of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia, surveyed data from 16 controlled trials with a total of 820 people treated for neck pain, using a 100-point scale to determine the difference between results of different treatments.

There were two trials for acute neck pain. Those who received low-level laser therapy, in which a beam of focused radiation in the infrared to visual light portion of the spectrum is aimed at the painful area of the neck, were 70 percent more likely to report reduced pain than those given placebo treatment with a beam of ordinary light, the report said.

Five trials with people suffering chronic, persistent neck pain found that those who got laser treatment were four times more likely to have reduced pain compared with placebo. In 11 trials of chronic pain, 20-point reductions were reported by people given laser therapy.

Seven of those trials provided follow-up data for as long as 22 weeks. Pain relief persisted, with few or no side effects reported.

"The results of low-level laser therapy in this review compare favorably with other widely used therapies, and especially with pharmacological interventions, for which evidence is sparse and side effects are common," the journal report said.

"The effects turned out to be fairly good," B
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