The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in our body. Unlike other joints, our shoulder depends almost entirely on a few muscles (the rotator cuff) to maintain stability. This unique structure combined with its extreme range of motion, makes the shoulder prone to a wide variety of injuries. One common shoulder injury is sub-acromial impingement. This is a condition that can be caused abnormal shoulder biomechanics and leads to pinching of the rotator cuff tendons. If left untreated, sub-acromial impingement can result in rotator cuff tears.
Low level laser therapy (therapeutic laser) is used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions. One recent study attempted to compare the effects of therapeutic laser to a placebo for the treatment of sub-acromial impingement. This study divided 52 patients into two groups. Each group had 5 treatment sessions per week for 3 weeks which included a cold pack for 10 minutes, an exercise program, and finally either the true laser or the placebo laser treatment.
At the end of three weeks results were collected that demonstrated significant improvement in pain, range of motion, and daily shoulder function for both treatment groups. However, no significant difference was seen between the true laser or placebo laser group. The authors concluded that the effects of the laser may have been overshadowed by the positive effects both groups received from the cold packs and therapeutic exercises.
- Dogan SK, Ay S, Evcik D. The effectiveness of low laser therapy in subacromial impingement syndrome: a randomized placebo controlled double-blind prospective study. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010;65(10):1019-22.
Dr. Golob and Tumwater Chiropractic Center are proud to offer therapeutic laser in combination with specifically designed exercise programs for patients whom are most likely to benefit from this approach.