High Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT) versus Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) in the treatment of noncalcifying tendinopathies of the rotator cuff: a retrospective study

A. Frizziero, A. Demeco, L. Pelizzari, M. Mirabdolbaghi, C. Costantino
Energy for Health [23], 2023

Instrumental physical therapies are extensively used in clinical practice to manage tendinopathies. However, there is still a lack of scientific evidence to support their efficacy. 
This retrospective study evaluated the short- and long-term effectiveness of High Intensity Laser Therapy (HILT) and Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) in treating non-calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy. 
The study included twenty patients divided into two groups. Group A (n=10) treated daily with HILT for one week, whereas Group B (n=10) received ESWT once a week for four weeks. The principal outcome of the study was the degree of pain reduction using the numeric rating scale (NRS). Moreover, mobility, shoulder strength, and functional improvement were assessed via the Constant-Murley questionnaire and the Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) questionnaire.
The results of the study indicated noteworthy improvements in the Constant-Murley scale scores, DASH questionnaire and NRS scores after both HILT and ESWT treatment. However, the outcomes of HILT laser therapy were found significant at first follow-up and the effects remained almost consistent over the three-month follow-up period. On the other hand, ESWT resulted in more gradual clinical improvement over time, with significant outcomes visible at three months.
In conclusion, HILT and ESWT have been demonstrated to be effective therapies for patients with non-calcific rotator cuff tendinopathy. However, HILT laser therapy resulted in more rapid clinical improvement.