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Effectiveness of Low-Level Laser Therapy Combined with an Exercise Program to Reduce Pain and Increase Function Among Adults with Shoulder Pain: A Critically Appraised Topic.

J Sport Rehabil.

Thornton AL, McCarty CW, Burgess MJ.

10/11/2012 - J Sport Rehabil. 2012 Oct 11.


Shoulder pain is a common musculoskeletal condition that affects up to 25% of the general population. Shoulder pain can be caused by any number of underlying conditions including subacromial impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinitis and biceps tendinitis. Regardless of the specific pathology, pain is generally the number one symptom associated with shoulder injuries and can severely affect daily activities and quality of life of patients with these conditions. Two of the primary goals in the treatment of these conditions is reducing pain and increasing shoulder ROM. Conservative treatment has traditionally included a therapeutic exercise program targeted at increasing range of motion, strengthening the muscles around the joint, proprioceptive training or some combination of those activities. In addition, these exercise programs have been supplemented with other interventions including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, manual therapy, activity modification and a wide array of therapeutic modalities (e.g., cryotherapy, EMS, ultrasound). Recently, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been utilized as an additional modality in the conservative management of patients with shoulder pain. However, the true effectiveness of LLLT on decreasing pain and increasing function in patients with shoulder pain is unclear.

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