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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2004 March;57(1):77-82

language: Italian

Treatment of low back pain caused by intervertebral disk displacement: comparison between high power laser, TENS and NSAIDs

Zati A. 1, Fortuna D. 2, Valent A. 1, Pulvirenti F. 1, Bilotta T. W. 1

1 Servizio Recupero e Rieducazione Funzionale, Istituti Ortopedici Rizzoli, Bologna;
2 Dipartimento Cardio Toracico, Università degli Studi di Pisa, Pisa


Low back pain is a very frequent symptom in patients affected by herniated intervertebral disk. In the majority of cases the symptomatology resolves spontaneously in some months. For this reason a conservative management is preferable to a surgical solution. There are many therapeutic possibilities but only a few, NSAIDs and TENS, have demonstrated their real efficacy. In physiotherapy, high power laser therapy is in increasing use to treat pain due to several orthopedic diseases. In this clinical study, we have tried to assess the efficacy of high power laser therapy in low back pain caused by intervertebral disk herniation, by comparing a new laser (pulsed Nd:YAG) with the TENS and a well-known NSAIDs (Ketoprofen). This trial highlights a better result of the high power laser therapy with respect to those obtained from TENS and NSAIDs. The most striking results are represented by the longer duration of the laser effects. It is therefore to be hoped that further research will be carried out in this field.

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