Findings from a new systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that the use of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) could significantly reduce pain and disability in patients with knee osteoarthritis (KOA) compared with placebo.
For the study, researchers examined data from 22 randomised controlled trials, including 1,063 individuals, to investigate the effectiveness of LLLT in reducing knee pain in KOA. The mean baseline pain among individuals was 63.61 mm on the 0-100 mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).
The authors reported that pain was significantly reduced by LLLT compared with placebo at the end of therapy (mean difference 14.23 mm VAS 95% CI 7.31 to 21.14) and during follow-up 1-12 weeks later (mean difference 15.92 mm VAS 95% CI 6.47 to 25.37). Disability was also significantly reduced by LLLT compared with placebo at the end of therapy and during follow-up 1-12 weeks later.
The trials were also subgrouped by adherence and non-adherence to the World Association for Laser Therapy recommendations for laser dose per treatment spot. The authors noted that recommended LLLT doses offered clinically relevant pain relief in KOA, but non-recommended doses provided little or no positive effect.
The findings are published in the BMJ Open.