Australian scientists have found a new laser treatment that can reduce chronic neck pain, a condition that affects up to one person in four.

According to the researchers from the Brain and Mind Research Institute of University of Sydney, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), a non-invasive, cold form of laser treatment, can help people suffering from chronic neck pain.

The team led by Roberta Chow carried out an overview of 16 randomised trials that put this increasingly popular procedure to the test.

“LLLT compares favourably with other drugs and other remedies for effectiveness and its side-effects are mild,” Chow said, adding “although, it is unclear why LLLT works“.

The author said, “Between 10 to 24 per cent of people suffer from chronic neck pain, inflicting a cost running into hundreds of millions of dollars and highlighting the need for simple but effective treatment“.

During the trials, over 800 patients were divided into two groups that received either the therapy or a lookalike, dummy treatment. In 16 trials, patients given LLLT were around four times likelier to have reduced pain compared with a placebo, The Lancet reported.

The LLLT patients reported reductions of chronic pain by around 20 points on a scale of 100 points and the pain reduction continued for up to 22 weeks.

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