The Difference Between Laser Therapies in Pain Relief for Patients with Arthritis in the Knee


High Intensity Laser Therapy Outperforms Low Level Laser Therapy

Knee osteoarthritis, otherwise known as KOA, is a common musculoskeletal joint disease in the the elderly and aging community. The disease is characterized by the degeneration of a knee cartilage and bony overgrowths. Unfortunately, those who are diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis often struggle with immense bone pain and physical disability.

The article, High-Intensity Versus Low-Level Laser Therapy in the Treatment of Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial, presents an in-depth evaluation on the efficiency of using High Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT) in contrast to Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) to treat a randomized group of 53 males suffering from knee osteoarthritis. Patients were evaluated based on a visual analog scale (VAS) ranging from 0-20, 20 being the highest level of pain, and the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index for knee function (WOMAC).

In the study, 20 patients were treated with HILT plus exercise, 18 were treated with LLLT plus exercise, and 15 acted as a control group (with a placebo laser treatment plus exercise). The study found that those who were treated with HILT plus exercise saw the most improvement in reduced pain and improved knee function. The researchers did note that LLLT was also rather effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis knee pain, however those who were treated with HILT had a greater reduction in pain.

This difference can most easily be seen in the patients’ VAS scores:

Pain Levels (VAS scores) HILT + Exercise LLLT + Exercise
Before Treatment 7.80 (±0.62) 7.68 (0.658)
6 weeks After Treatment 2.15 (±0.75) 2.97 (±0.848)
Difference 5.65 ± 4.71 ±

Patients who were treated with High Intensity Laser Therapy reported pain improvement scores a full point better than those treated with Low Lever Laser Therapy.

This study reinforces that not all forms of laser therapy are created equal. Integrated Pain Solutions specializes in treating chronic pain, including arthritis knee pain, with High Intensity Laser Therapy. If you are interested in exploring your options or want to compare High Intensity Laser Therapy to a possible knee replacement, contact us for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation., Dr. Draeger is ready to help you improve your life. Give us a call today.

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Kheshie, Abdullah R, Mohamed Salaheldien Mohamed Alayat, and Mohamed Mohamed Ebrahim Ali. “High-intensity versus low-level laser therapy in the treatment of patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.” Lasers in Medical Science 29.4 (2014):1371-1376.