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J Acupunct Res > Volume 38(1); 2021 > Article
Published online February 22, 2021.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13045/jar.2020.00283   
Low-Level Laser Therapy including Laser Acupuncture for Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Hyewon Yeum  , Yejin Hong  , Dongwoo Nam 
Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Medicine, Kyung Hee University Korean Medicine Hospital, Seoul, Korea
*Corresponding author.
Dongwoo Nam
Email: hanisanam@khu.ac.kr
Received: September 16, 2020   Revised: November 6, 2020   Accepted: December 11, 2020
Low-level laser therapy including laser acupuncture (LLLT/LA) has been widely used for non-specific chronic low back pain (NCLBP). However, there is no critically appraised evidence of its potential benefits. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of LLLT/LA for NCLBP. There were 12 databases (MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE, KoreaMed, KMBASE, KISS, NDSL, KISTI, OASIS, CNKI, CiNII, J-stage) searched for randomized controlled trials using LLLT/LA for NCLBP up until June 2019. The primary outcome was pain intensity and functional status/disability due to NCLBP. A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted on 20 studies involving 1,323 participants. LLLT/LA showed a significant positive effect on pain relief scores compared with sham treatments (SMD -0.51, 95% CI: -0.88 to -0.13; χ2 = 31.12, I2 = 74%). Alone, the therapy showed a significant positive effect on function/disability scores (30 participants, MD -11.90, 95% CI: -17.37 to -6.43). As an add-on treatment, it showed a significant positive effect on pain relief (80 participants, MD -5.10, 95% CI: -9.31 to -0.88; χ2 = 28.99, I2 = 97%) and improved function/disability scores (120 participants, MD 5.44, 95% CI: 2.19 to 8.68; χ2 = 4.07, I2 = 75%). Among 20 studies, 9 studies reported no adverse events and 1 study reported mild adverse events. LLLT/LA may be an alternative or add-on treatment for NCLBP.
Keywords: acupuncture, laser, low-level laser therapy, low back pain

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