Objective: The purpose of this scoping review was to identify and synthesize literature on dosage variables on the efficacy of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) for neuromusculoskeletal conditions.
Methods: A scoping literature review was conducted by searching the following databases: the Cochrane Library, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Medline, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database, the Index to Chiropractic Literature, manufacturer websites, and online guidelines. The search was modeled after STARLITE criteria. The reporting used Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR). Articles were included if LLLT was used in any treatment group for a neuromusculoskeletal complaint with dosage and effectiveness reported. This was tabulated by source, dosage variables, conditions, outcome measures, and conclusions. Data were charted in Excel format. Frequency counts were performed on ordinal data. Descriptive statistics were computed for the continuous data.
Results: A total of 86 articles were included in the review. They revealed a broad range of musculoskeletal conditions and diverse dosage parameters. Seven individual parameters were found that would alter the dosage. Although duration of application is an independent clinical factor, the negative-outcome studies were inconsistent in duration. There was lack of statistical difference between the studies with improved vs unimproved outcomes. No statistical differences were noted between the dosage parameters and efficacy.
Conclusion: Although many articles were found on LLLT for neuromusculoskeletal conditions, the studies had amorphous parameters. A heterogeneity of reported doses precluded the synthesis of sufficient evidence to correlate dosage variables with improved or unimproved outcomes. Therefore, based on the current literature, dosage variables for the efficacy of LLLT for neuromusculoskeletal conditions are uncertain at this time.
Author keywords: Low-Level Light Therapy; Musculoskeletal Diseases
Author affiliations: DNT: Clinical Sciences Department, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, Texas, United States; TW: Allen, Texas, United States; SW: Basic Science Department, Texas Chiropractic College, Pasadena, Texas, United States
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