The Worksafe review

Author: Jan Tunér

Laser phototherapy is a complicated therapy containing many parameters to pay attention to in order to obtain a good clinical result. The availability of unbiased education in this field is scarce and practitioners are often in the hands of training by the manufacturers. Quality of this training differs considerably. Unbiased expert evaluations are therefore much needed. Unfortunately, several of these evaluations, including the Cochrane Collaboration obviously lack competence in this field.

Effectiveness of low level laser therapy in treating various conditions. A rapid review
By WorkSafeBC Evidence-Based Practice Group, British Columbia, Canada.
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The aim of the literature review was to check of these was any scientific documentation for chiropractic use of laser phototherapy. Literature search was done up till 2008. The outcome was very negative. Here is why:

  • Of the 38 references, 15 were later than the year 2000. The majority of qualified clinical studies and reviews have been published during the passed decade.
  • One literature review quoted is from 1995
  • The only reference on rheumatoid arthritis is a Russian abstract using blood irradiation
  • 3 references are on combined LED/Laser therapy
  • 2 references are in vitro studies
  • 2 references are congress abstracts
  • 1 is on macular degeneration
  • 2 are on postmastectomy complications, not finding the relevant Carati study.
  • 1 is on leukemia
  • 1 is on the growth of bacteria
  • 1 is on orthodontics
  • 1 is a comment in a journal
  • No study is from Photomedicine and Laser Surgery

Now, the questions are:

  • Are these studies relevant to chiropractic treatment?
  • Is the selection of references reflecting the present availability of scientific evidence?
  • Is the search for literature thorough?
  • Will this review meet the aim of the work?
  • Will chiropractors be better informed by reading this review

The answer to all questions is NO.