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What is the efficacy of "soft" and "mid" lasers in therapy of tendinopathies? A double-blind study.

Archives of orthopaedic and traumatic surgery. Archiv für orthopädische und Unfall-Chirurgie

Thermography, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Clinical Trials as Topic, Double-Blind Method, Female, Humans, Laser Therapy, Male, Middle Aged, Muscular Diseases, radiotherapy, Random Allocation, Tendons

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      The efficacy of "athermic" lasers (HeNe lambda = 632.8 nm and IR diode lambda = 904 nm) in the treatment of tendinopathies was investigated in a randomized double-blind study. On 10 consecutive days, 64 patients (32 therapy, 32 placebo) were treated for 15 minutes each with a switched-on or switched-off laser under otherwise identical conditions. The extent of movement in involved joints (neutral 0 method) and rating on a pain scale for resting pain, movement pain, and pressure pain before treatment, after treatment, and 2 weeks after conclusion of therapy, as well as infrared thermography, served to check therapy. After the end of therapy, a significant reduction (P = less than 0.001) of 50% was shown for resting pain as well as reductions of 30% for movement and 30% for pressure pain. This result was identical in the therapy group and in the placebo group. There was also no indication of a different result of therapy between the therapy and placebo groups with regard to the thermographic control and the extent of movement. The breakdown of the data in terms of age, sex, and duration of disease did not provide any indications of different results for placebo or therapy. It was striking that the patients who reported sensations during or after the treatment (irrespective of whether pleasant or unpleasant) had a greater reduction of pain than the patients without sensations. This laser therapy thus did not show any effect above and beyond that in the untreated group in our double-blind clinical study.

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