Can You Zap the Pain Away

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A group of patients with diabetes receiving low-intensity laser therapy (LILT) for the painful symptoms of sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSP) showed a reduction in pain scores in a Toronto study.

However, the study results are not convincing enough to recommend LILT treatment for painful symptoms of DSP.

Fifty patients with painful DSP diagnosed with the Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score were given either placebo or LILT therapy for four weeks after all patients received an initial two weeks of placebo treatment. The efficacy of the treatment was determined through pain scores on a visual analog scale.

LILT had no effect in such areas as sympathetic skin response or quantitative sensory testing or on the Toronto Clinical Neuropathy Score. Both groups noted a decrease in weekly average pain scores while they were receiving the placebo treatment.

After the four-week intervention, the group receiving LILT had an additional reduction in weekly average pain scores compared to the group on placebo treatment. The researchers conclude there was not sufficient evidence to support LILT as a treatment.

—Diabetes Care, April 2004

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