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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 27

J Clin Med



High-Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT) as an Emerging Treatment for Vulvodynia and Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Disorders: A Systematic Review of Treatment Efficacy.


Starzec-Proserpio M, Grigol Bardin M, Fradette J, Tu L M, Bérubè-Lauzière Y, Paré J, Carroll M-S, Morin M
J Clin Med. 2022 Jun 27; 11(13).
PMID: 35806984.


High-intensity laser therapy (HILT) has been gaining popularity in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, including vulvodynia. The objective of this study was to critically appraise and synthesize the available evidence on the efficacy of HILT for reducing pain and improving function in vulvodynia and other chronic primary musculoskeletal pain conditions. Electronic databases and the grey literature were searched. Effects on pain intensity, function, and adverse events were assessed. One study investigating HILT in the treatment of vulvodynia and 13 studies on the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain were selected. The study assessing vulvodynia showed favorable results for reducing pain. Regarding chronic musculoskeletal pain, 12 out of the 13 studies selected consistently showed that HILT was more effective than the placebo/active comparator for reducing pain and improving function. The available effect sizes for pain showed large to huge effects. Similar effects were observed for function except for two studies showing moderate effects. The GRADE score was moderate. Conclusions: There are insufficient data to support the use of HILT in vulvodynia, but the promising results encourage further research. HILT appears to be effective in musculoskeletal pain conditions. More high-quality studies are needed to identify effective laser protocols.