Low-Lever Laser Therapy for Treating Low Back Pain: 12-Month Follow-Up

Journal of Pain & Relief

2019; Vol. 9; No. 1; 1000347

Trevor S Berry, Paul J Quarneri, Gregory Roche, Travis M Sammons: This study cites 29 references. 


Chronic low back pain (LBP) remains a pervasive and costly global health issue, affecting an estimated 632 million individuals worldwide and generating societal costs exceeding $100 billion annually in the United States alone. In the quest for effective and safe treatments, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has emerged as a promising option, offering relief without the potential risks associated with conventional medications like opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This article explores a recent study that not only secured market clearance for LLLT in treating chronic low back pain but also reevaluated its safety and efficacy 12 months post-treatment.

  • The Burden of Low Back Pain:
    • Low back pain stands as the leading cause of disability globally, affecting people of all ages and contributing significantly to societal costs.
  • Challenges with Conventional Treatments:
    • Traditional approaches, such as NSAIDs and opioids, have limitations and associated risks, making them suboptimal for the treatment of chronic low back pain.
  • The Promise of Low-Level Laser Therapy:
    • LLLT has shown positive effects in treating various musculoskeletal conditions, including low back pain, providing a potential alternative to conventional medications.
  • Growing Evidence Against NSAIDs and Opioids:
    • The long-term use of NSAIDs is linked to gastrointestinal, renal, and cardiovascular toxicity, while opioids demonstrate lower efficacy and increased potential harm, without improving the quality of life for chronic LBP patients.
  • Understanding Low-Level Laser Therapy:
    • LLLT, also known as nonthermal or cold laser therapy, involves the emission of red or near-infrared light with power in the range of 0.001 to 500 mW. It has demonstrated benefits in reducing pain and disability and improving range of motion in patients with chronic low back pain.
  • Erchonia’s Success Stories:
    • Previous studies using Erchonia non-thermal lasers have shown significant improvement in pain severity and range of motion for various musculoskeletal conditions. These successes led to the FDA granting market clearance for the Erchonia FX635 Laser, marking a significant milestone in LLLT for chronic low back pain.
  • Study Design and Inclusion Criteria:
    • The recent study involved 58 subjects randomly assigned to active and sham treatment groups. Inclusion criteria included a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) pain score of ≥40 and refraining from analgesic drugs throughout the study.
  • Mechanism of Action:
    • LLLT is based on the principle of photochemistry, where absorbed light exerts a photochemical effect in damaged cells. The application of LLLT induces an increase in cytochrome c oxidase and oxygenated hemoglobin concentration, leading to enhanced ATP production.
  • Effectiveness and Safety:
    • The study’s results demonstrate that LLLT is not only effective in reducing low back pain but also offers a safer alternative to opioids and NSAIDs.


As the world grapples with the complex challenge of chronic low back pain, low-level laser therapy emerges as a beacon of hope. With its proven effectiveness and safety profile, LLLT stands as a compelling alternative to conventional medications, offering a path to relief and improved quality of life for those burdened by the persistent and disabling effects of chronic low back pain.