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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

ISSN Print: 0896-2960
ISSN Online: 2162-6553

Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevPhysRehabilMed.v22.i1-4.110
pages 241-277

Laser Therapy for Myofascial Pain

Yueh-Ling Hsieh
Department of Physical Therapy and Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
Chang-Zern Hong
Department of Physical Therapy, Hungkuang University, Taichung, Taiwan


Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common musculoskeletal pain syndrome characterized by acute or chronic regional muscle pain. MPS is primarily caused by myofascial trigger points (MTrP). MPS treatment consists of MTrP inactivation, which breaks the vicious cycle of pain-contracture-pain and activates the descending pain inhibitory system. In recent years, low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has become an increasingly mainstream modality for pain control of MPS and MTrP; however, the clinical outcomes of LLLT in MPS and MTrP seem controversial. This can probably be explained by the various parameters and applications of LLLT. Therefore, to discuss the effects of LLLT on MPS and MTrP, this review addresses the possible mechanisms of LLLT that operate both on cellular and tissue levels. The current literature suggests that LLLT may offer an important adjunct and non-drug option in general practices for MPS patients, especially in patients with adverse side effects to drug and invasive treatments.