School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care

Postgraduate research profiles


Gregory Glazov

Phone: (+61 4) 9449 5140
Fax: (+61 8) 9384 6238


Start date

Jan 2008

Submission date

Gregory Glazov

Gregory Glazov profile photo


Multi-centre, double-blind randomised controlled clinical trial to examine the efficacy and dose dependence of an 830 nm, 20 mW laser diode for the laser acupuncture treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain.


Low-level laser stimulation of acupuncture points (LA), as an alternative to needles, has commonly been commonly used in the past 35 yrs.

Evidence is still equivocal for the effectiveness of LA for treatment of chronic LBP. Few trials have used rigorous double-blind methodology examining the effectiveness of LA versus a sham laser control in this condition.

A preliminary study by the author did not show any significant difference in pain or disability on the primary analysis of results; however, a baseline imbalance of factors affecting outcome between the groups may have produced a false negative result.

A subgroup analysis - excluding participants with DSP or with previous back surgery, facet joint blocks, and a higher intake of analgesics - detected a significant pain reduction at end of treatment and at a six-week follow-up for the laser group. Unfortunately this result was achieved on subgroup analysis only, with a reduced number of subjects, and other potential criticism.

This suggested the need to repeat the trial with a similar protocol but with steps to avoid confounding factors and maximising the specific effect of the active treatment if it exists. The study will also examine if there is a laser dose dependent response between 0 and 0.8 joules per point stimulated.

Why my research is important

Most acute pain will settle within weeks, but some cases become chronic, with pain duration continuing for over three months or much longer.

Recent evidence is demonstrating that needle acupuncture is beneficial to this condition. If a significant beneficial effect of LA is demonstrated, it would support its use as a non-invasive tool for use by GPs or other practitioners in the management of chronic back pain and in reducing pain, suffering and disability in this difficult to treat condition.


  • PHCRED Research Fellowship (2008)
  • Australian Medical Acupuncture College purchased equipment for study


School of Primary, Aboriginal and Rural Health Care

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