Treatment of medial and lateral epicondylitis – tennis and golfer’s elbow – with LLLT: a multicenter double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on 324 patients.

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Treatment of medial and lateral epicondylitis – tennis and golfer’s elbow – with LLLT: a multicenter double blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on 324 patients.

Simunovic Z, Trobonjaca T, Trobonjaca Z


Laser Center, Locarno, Switzerland. tzlatko@mamed.medri.hr


PMID: 9743652 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery (Jun 1998) 16(3):145-151.

 

LLLT has been promoted as a highly successful method for treating medial and lateral epicondylitis. This clinical study assessed the efficacy of LLLT using trigger points (TPs) and scanner application techniques under placebo-controlled conditions. The study was completed at two Laser Centers in Locarno, Switzerland and Opatija, Croatia: a double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover clinical study. The patient population (n=324), with either medial epicondylitis (Golfer’s elbow; n=50) or lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow; n=274), was recruited. Unilateral cases of either type of epicondylitis (n=283) were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups according to the LLLT technique applied: (1) Trigger points; (2) Scanner; (3) Combination Treatment (i.e., TPs and scanner technique). Laser devices used to perform these treatments were infrared (IR) diode laser (GaAIAs) 830 nm continuous wave for treatment of TPs and He-Ne 632.8 nm combined with IR diode laser 904 nm, pulsed wave for scanner technique. Energy doses were controlled and measured in Joules/cm2 either during TPs or scanner technique sessions in all groups of patients. The treatment outcome (pain relief and functional ability) was observed and measured according to the following methods: (1) short form of McGill’s Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ); (2) visual analogue scales (VAS); (3) verbal rating scales (VRS); (4) patient’s pain diary; and (5) hand dynamometer. Total relief of the pain with consequently improved functional ability was achieved in 82% of acute and 66% of chronic cases. Best results were obtained by a combination treatment (i.e., TPs and scanner technique). Under-and over irradiation dosage result in the absence of positive therapy effects or even opposite, negative (e.g., inhibitory) effects. The data shows the efficacy of LLLT in the management of lateral and medial epicondylitis.