Short-term pulsed neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser therapy may reduce pain and improve functional disabilities in patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain (LBP), according to study results published in Medicine.

Chronic nonspecific LBP, defined as LBP lasting more than 12 weeks without an identified specific pathology, is becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide. Recent studies suggested that high-intensity laser therapy in the form of Nd:YAG laser may reduce pain severity and functional disability in patients with LBP. The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of 6 weeks of Nd:YAG laser therapy on chronic nonspecific LBP.

The prospective, randomized-controlled trial included 35 patients recruited from the orthopedic outpatient clinic of the Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Of these, 18 (mean age 39.6 years, 12 men) participants were randomized to Nd:YAG laser therapy and 17 (mean age 38.9 years, 10 men) subjects were in the sham laser group. All subjects conducted a program of easy home exercise.

The outcome measures included functional disability, assessed using the modified Oswestry Disability Index and Pain Disability Index, intensity of pain was evaluated using a visual analog scale, and lumbar flexion range of motion was measured using the Modified-Modified Schober Test.


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After 6-week intervention, there were significant improvements in the Nd:YAG group in functional disabilities according to modified Oswestry Disability Index (P < .001) and Pain Disability Index (P = .007), as well as in pain intensity according to a visual analog scale (P < .001) and lumbar range of motion (P = .002). On the other hand, in the sham group, there were no significant changes in functional disabilities, pain intensity, or lumbar range of motion.

The study had several limitations, including the small sample size, short-term follow-up, and unsupervised home exercise.

“Short-term pulsed Nd:YAG laser (6 weeks) may reduce functional disabilities and pain intensity, and improve the lumbar flexion ROM in patients with chronic nonspecific LBP,” concluded the researchers.

Reference

Abdelbasset WK, Nambi G, Elsayed SH, et al. Short-term clinical efficacy of the pulsed Nd:YAG laser therapy on chronic nonspecific low back pain: a randomized controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(36):e22098. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000022098.