Simunovic Z and Trobonjaca T
Lasers in Surgery and Medicine (2002) Supplement 14, Atlanta, Georgia
The aim of this pilot study was to compare the efficacy of Low Level Laser therapy (LLLT), Transcutaneous Electro-Neural Stimulation (TENS), visible incoherent polarized (VIP) light and placebo in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis-tennis elbow. The patient population (n=120) was randomly allocated into four groups according to treatment applied. The therapy lasted three weeks per each treatment modality, where total number of treatments per patient was twelve (5+4+3 per three weeks). LLLT was applied as trigger points technique in all patients, using an infrared diode laser in a dosage of 4 J/point. TENS was applied using gummy plates in the same sizes and by exactly measuring the amount of mA, mV and Hertz in all patients. VIP light was applied in a dosage of 4/J.cm2 . Placebo was applied by using a laser device with no active laser emission. All patients suffered from chronic form of lateral epicondylitis, with x-ray proved no changes on the cervical spine. The outcome measurement was focused on the level of pain relief, estimated according to the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The results have demonstrated that the highest percentage of pain relief was achieved in patients treated with LLLT (over 45% of lased patients reported 90-100% pain relief). The second best pain relief was reported in the group of patients treated with TENS. None of the patients treated with VIP light reported 90-100% pain relief. The worst results were reported in placebo group (<20% of average pain relief). This pilot study indicates epicondylitis compared to other treatments modalities and placebo. Carefully conducted multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled clinical studies are recommended for assessing the efficacy of LLLT, TENS and VIP light in the treatment of chronic form of lateral epicondylitis.