Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not, “Is the use of laser therapy an effective alternative treatment for women with fibromyalgia?”

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English language primary studies, published between 2002 and 2013.

DATA SOURCES: Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were found using Cochrane Systematic Reviews. These studies analyzed the effectiveness of laser therapy in women with fibromyalgia.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Main outcomes measured were improvement in pain, number of tender points, muscular spasm, skinfold tenderness, sleep disturbance, fatigue and morning stiffness measured by an ordinal likert scale, Pain and FM impact measured by the FM Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), Body flexibility measured by the continuous scale physical functional performance test (CS-PFP), number of tender points measured by distal palpation, and well being measured by the verbal scale of global evaluation by the patient concerning her well-being (VSGI). P-values were used to assess the significance of the outcomes.

RESULTS: All three studies showed significant improvement in the functioning of women with fibromyalgia. In the Panton et all study, it was shown that there were improvements in pain, upper body flexibility, and FM impact. The Gur et all study showed improvements in pain, muscle spasm, morning stiffness, and total tender point number, and the Armagan et al study showed improvements in the FIQ, VSGI, and total myalgia after laser therapy.

CONCLUSION: The results of three RCTs which compared before and after laser treatment groups to before and after placebo laser therapy groups showed laser therapy to be an effective treatment for women with fibromyalgia.