Low Level Laser Therapy - Clinical Applications

Clinical Applications

LLLT has primarily been shown useful in the short-term treatment of acute pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, tendinopathy, and possibly chronic joint disorders. LLLT has also been useful in the treatment of both acute and chronic neck pain. A Cochrane Library review concluded that low level laser therapy (LLLT) has insufficient evidence for treatment of nonspecific low back pain, a finding echoed in a later review of treatments for chronic low back pain. Though it has been suggested for decades that LLLT could be useful in speeding wound healing, the appropriate parameters (dose, type of laser, materials, wavelength, etc.) have not been identified. Similarly, the use of lasers to treat chronic periodontitis and to speed healing of infections around dental implants is suggested, but there is insufficient evidence to indicate a use superior to traditional practices.

Stephen Barrett, writing for Quackwatch, concluded there was evidence to support LLLT use for temporary pain relief, but "there's no reason to believe that they will influence the course of any ailment or are more effective than other forms of heat delivery."

The insurance company, Cigna, has reviewed the evidence for LLLT and concluded that it is still considered an experimental treatment. Therefore, Cigna does not provide coverage for it.

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