2014 Volume 23 Issue 3 Pages 183-190
The assessment of the efficacy of low level laser therapy (LLLT) for pain attenuation varies among institutions, all having their own method of assessment with no common standards. At the author’s institution in the beginning, the patients were asked how they assessed their pain relief immediately after the treatment. They were to choose from excellent, good, fair, no change and poor. The overall efficacy rate was calculated by the numbers of patients scoring excellent and good, expressed as a percentage of the total number of patients.
However, a large number of institutions have utilized the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or the Pain Relief Score (PRS) for the assessment of treatment; but even then, the evaluation could not be considered uniform. Therefore, the standardization of the efficacy rate was continuously discussed among the practitioners of LLLT, dating back to the 9th annual meeting of the Japan Laser Therapy Association (JaLTA) in 1997. It took four years (including the 1997 meeting) until finally an agreement was reached and a new standard of efficacy was presented at the 12th JaLTA meeting in 2000, based on the PRS.
The new standard defined excellent as pain reduction in any treatment session from 10 to 0 or 1, good as reduction from 10 to 2~5, fair as reduction from 10 to 6~8, no change as a reduction from 10 to 9~10 and poor was defined as exacerbation of pain from 10 to 11 or greater. Efficacy rate was calculated by the number of patients scoring excellent and good expressed as a percentage of the total number of patients. For the purpose of reference, the VAS was to be used for patients receiving the treatment for the first time.