Effect of laser acupuncture combine a knee exercise on patients with knee osteoarthritis: a pilot trial

Original Research


Abstract: Introduction: Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is one of the most common causes of chronic pain and disability. In addition, many studies have shown that laser acupuncture (LA) has a great analgesic effect and minimal side effects. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of LA combined with knee exercises (KE) in patients with KOA.

Methods: A pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted on 60 patients with KOA at Le Van Thinh Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City from May 2021 to September 2022. Patients were randomly allocated to LA group (n = 30) with KE combined LA or the therapeutic ultrasound (TU) group (n = 30) with KE combined with TU in 4 weeks. The outcome measurements were visual analog scale (VAS) scores and knee range of motion (ROM). The data were collected at 5 time points: T0 (baseline) and after every week of treatment.

Results: After a 4-week treatment, the VAS score of patients in LA groups decreased from 6(5-6) to 3 cm (2-4) (p < 0.01) but was not significantly different when compared to patients in TU groups. In contrast, there is an improvement in the ROM score of patients, from 132.5 (130 – 140) to 140 (140 – 140) with the KOA, and has significantly different when compared to patients in TU groups (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: LA combined with KE exhibited equivalent analgesic effects and increased knee ROM in patients KOA after 2, 3, and 4-week treatment.

Graphical abstract