Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 671–679 | Cite as

Short-term therapeutic effects of 890-nanometer light therapy for chronic low back pain: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study

  • Ru-Lan HsiehEmail author
  • Wen-Chung Lee
Original Article


We conducted a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study to investigate the effects of short-term 890-nm light therapy in patients with chronic low back pain in a rehabilitation clinic. Thirty-eight women and 22 men with chronic low back pain (mean age, 60.3 years; range, 32–80 years) received 40-min sessions of hot-pack therapy combined with active or placebo 890-nm light therapy (wavelength = 890 nm, radiant power output = 6.24 W, power density = 34.7 mW/cm2 for 40 min, total energy = 83.2 J/cm2) over the lower back three times weekly for 2 weeks. Participants were assessed before and after treatment by using a range of motion measurements, a visual analog scale evaluation of pain, the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, the Biodex Stability System, the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, repeated chair-rising times, the Frenchay Activity Index, the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ), and the Osteoarthritis Quality of Life Questionnaire. The severity of disability based on the ODQ score was used as the primary clinical outcome measurement. Compared to the baseline measurements, participants in the treatment group reported significant reductions in fear-avoidance beliefs regarding physical activity (P = 0.040) and work (P = 0.007) and in the severity of disability (P = 0.021). Treatment with hot-pack therapy and 890-nm light therapy was associated with reductions in the severity of disability and fear avoidance beliefs in patients with chronic low back pain.


Low back pain Light therapy Effects Fear-avoidance Disability 



This study was supported by grants from Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital (SKH-8302-99-DR-41) and the National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 99–2628-B-002-061-MY3). The authors have no competing interests to declare. We thank Professor Alan Tennant BA for permission to use the OAQOL in the present study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationShin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.School of Medicine, College of MedicineTaipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public HealthNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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