Great news for patients with arthritis! A Clinical Trial in This article summarizes the findings of a study that aimed to evaluate the effects of low-power light therapy on pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee. The study was a partially double-blinded, fully randomized trial that compared red, infrared, and placebo light emitters.
Fifty patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of both knees were randomly assigned to three treatment groups: red (15 patients), infrared (18 patients), and placebo (17 patients). The infrared and placebo emitters were double-blinded. The patients self-applied the treatment to both sides of the knee for 15 minutes twice a day for 10 days.
The main outcome measures used were the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire, Present Pain Intensity, Visual Analogue Scale for pain, and the Disability Index Questionnaire for disability. Pain and disability were evaluated before and on the tenth day of therapy. The period from the end of the treatment until the patient requested retreatment was also assessed one year after the trial.
The results showed that there were no statistically significant differences in pain and disability before treatment between the three groups. However, both the red and infrared treatment groups exhibited pain reduction of over 50% according to all scoring methods (p < 0.05), while the placebo group did not show significant pain improvement. Functional improvement was observed in the red and infrared treatment groups (p < 0.05), but not in the placebo group. Additionally, the period from the end of treatment until the patients required retreatment was longer for the red and infrared groups compared to the placebo group (4.2 +/- 3.0, 6.1 +/- 3.2, and 0.53 +/- 0.62 months, respectively).
In conclusion, the study found that low-power light therapy is effective in relieving pain and disability in elderly patients with degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee. Both red and infrared light treatment showed significant pain reduction and functional improvement, whereas the placebo group did not experience these benefits. The red and infrared groups also had a longer period before requiring retreatment compared to the placebo group.