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Efficacy of low-level laser therapy applied at acupuncture points in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised double-blind comparative trial

  • A.S. Al Rashoud
    Affiliations
    Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
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  • R.J. Abboud
    Affiliations
    Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
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  • W. Wang
    Affiliations
    Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
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  • C. Wigderowitz
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Tayside Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Technology Centre, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK. Tel.: +44 1382 425746; fax: +44 (0) 1382 496200.
    Affiliations
    Institute of Motion Analysis and Research, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK
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Published:January 13, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2013.09.007

      Abstract

      Objective

      To evaluate the efficacy of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) applied to acupuncture points on the knee joint in combination with exercise and advice in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

      Design

      Randomised, double-blind, comparative clinical trial.

      Participants

      Forty-nine patients with knee osteoarthritis were assigned at random into two groups: active laser group (n = 26) and placebo laser group (n = 23).

      Intervention

      Using a gallium aluminium arsenide laser device, patients received either active or placebo LLLT at five acupuncture points on the affected knee during nine sessions.

      Outcome measures

      Patients were assessed using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Saudi Knee Function Scale (SKFS) at baseline, the fifth treatment session, the last treatment session, 6 weeks post intervention and 6 months post intervention.

      Results

      VAS scores showed a significant improvement in the active laser group compared with the placebo laser group at 6 weeks post intervention [mean difference −1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) of the difference −2.4 to −0.3; P = 0.014] and 6 months post intervention (mean difference −1.8, 95% CI of the difference −3.0 to −0.7; P = 0.003) using the independent samples test. SKFS scores also showed a significant improvement in the active laser group compared with the placebo laser group at the last treatment session (median difference −15, 95% CI of the difference −27 to −2; P = 0.035) and 6 months post intervention (median difference −21, 95% CI of the difference −34 to −7; P = 0.006) using the Mann–Whitney U test.

      Conclusions

      The results demonstrate that short-term application of LLLT to specific acupuncture points in association with exercise and advice is effective in reducing pain and improving quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

      Keywords

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