Heres an interesting research paper looking into how low level laser can be effective as a lower back pain treatment. The paper found that acute low back pain - LBP responded better when LLLT is used as an additional therapy.
The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in patients with acute low back pain (LBP) with radiculopathy.
Acute LBP with radiculopathy is associated with pain and disability and the important pathogenic role of inflammation. LLLT has shown significant anti-inflammatory effects in many studies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed on 546 patients. Group A (182 patients) was treated with nimesulide 200 mg/day and additionally with active LLLT; group B (182 patients) was treated only with nimesulide; and group C (182 patients) was treated with nimesulide and placebo LLLT. LLLT was applied behind the involved spine segment using a stationary skin-contact method.
Patients were treated 5 times weekly, for a total of 15 treatments, with the following parameters: wavelength 904 nm; frequency 5000 Hz; 100-mW average diode power; power density of 20 mW/cm(2) and dose of 3 J/cm(2); treatment time 150 sec at whole doses of 12 J/cm(2). The outcomes were pain intensity measured with a visual analog scale (VAS); lumbar movement, with a modified Schober test; pain disability, with Oswestry disability score; and quality of life, with a 12-item short-form health survey questionnaire (SF-12). Subjects were evaluated before and after treatment. Statistical analyses were done with SPSS 11.5.
Statistically significant differences were found in all outcomes measured (p < 0.001), but were larger in group A than in B (p < 0.0005) and C (p < 0.0005). The results in group C were better than in group B (p < 0.0005).
The results of this study show better improvement in acute LBP treated with LLLT used as additional therapy.
Konstantinovic LM, Kanjuh ZM, Milovanovic AN, Cutovic MR, Djurovic AG, Savic VG, Dragin AS, Milovanovic ND.