June 8, 2010 (Baltimore, Maryland) — New data presented at the American College of Sports Medicine 57th Annual Meeting suggest that the application of class 4 infrared light lasers to fibromyalgia trigger points improves upper body flexibility. This finding is important because fibromyalgia is often difficult to treat with pharmacologic agents, and patients seek alternative regimens to ease their discomfort.
39 women (52 ± 11 years of age) were randomly assigned to receive 8 minutes of laser therapy or sham heat therapy twice per week for 4 weeks. Treatment consisted of the application of laser therapy or sham heat therapy to 8 standardized points located across the neck, shoulders, and low back.
The impact of laser therapy on upper body flexibility in patients treated with laser therapy was significant, compared with those treated with sham heat therapy. However, there was no improvement in functionality or pain score between the 2 groups. There was an increase in the amount of time between bouts of severe pain in laser-treated patients, compared with sham-treated patients.