Clinical Pain Abstracts:
LOW INTENSlTY LASER THERAPY (LILT) FOR
HEAD, NECK AND FACIAL PAIN
Professor P.F. Bradley
University College Hospital, London, UK
Employs lasers which are compact and low priced because
they use diode technology. The two most frequently used
1. Near Infra Red Gallium Aluminum Arsenide 820nm
This is the most widely applicable wavelength due to its
deep penetration in tissue.
2. Visible Red Helium Neon 632.8nm or Diode 660nm
There is evidence that red light is well absorbed by
chromophores in nerve tissue and epithelium particularly,
although its penetration is less than near infra red.
Commonly used pulsed in acupuncture techniques.
Mechanisms of Pain Relief
There is experimental evidence for:
a) Effects on nerve: changes in sodium potassium ATPase
have been reported and microneuronography has
demonstrated damping action on fine non myelinated
b) Energisation of depleted enzymes e.g. super-oxide
c) Elevation of endorphin levels have been reported after
treatment of trigger zones in muscle.
Head and Neck Clinical Applications of LILT
LILT is proving useful in a wide variety of painful
conditions in the Head and Neck but the following are
1. TM Joint Pain Dysfunction
In acute conditions (less than eight weeks duration) it
may be the sole treatment. In more chronic cases without
bone changes on x-ray, it is a useful adjunct to other
therapy e.g. splints. In osteoarthritis cases it can be
as effective as intra articular steroid.
2. Post Herpetic Neuralgia
LILT has been shown to be effective in double blind cross
3. Trigeminal Neuralgia
LILT can be useful in reducing dose requirements of
patients on Carbamazapine.
4. Painful Ulcerative Conditions
The inflammatory stage of the ulcer is materially
shortened with concomitant pain relief.
5. Pain of Advanced Oro Facial Cancer
Initial work shows that LILT can be effective in
palliative regimens and may allow reduction of opiate
Moore K and Calderhead R.G 1991. The clinical application
of low incident power density 830nm Gallium Aluminum
Arsenide diode laser radiation in the therapy of chronic
intractable pain. International Journal of Opto
Bradley P.F & Rehbini Z 1994. An evaluation of Low
Intensity Laser Therapy for Temporomandibular Joint Pain.
Abstracts of International Congress on Lasers in
Dentistry Singapore. 106
LLLT_Clinical pain abstracts
LLLT Wound pictures