Purpose: To explore the difference between continuous and pulsed photobiomodulation (PBMT) versus a placebo treatment when using a red-blue light combination over multiple treatment sessions to decrease the symptoms of muscle damage in the quadriceps muscle after a bout of muscle damaging exercise. Methods: Thirty-six healthy, nonactive male and female participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups: continuous PBMT, pulsed PBMT, and placebo treatment. Participants were assessed for muscle damage with knee extension maximal isometric and isokinetic contractions, as well as Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) scores. Blood creatine kinase (CK) was also analyzed. Participants were given treatment immediately prior to undergoing a bout of damaging eccentric exercise. Participants were treated with PBMT for the next 4 consecutive days for a total of 5 treatments. Results: The continuous treatment group lost significantly less isokinetic average peak torque than the placebo treatment when averaged across all time points postexercise. However, for isometric testing, the continuous group had more reduction in force compared to the placebo group. Between the treatment groups, the continuous treatment group had significantly more muscle soreness measured by the VAS and had significantly less function in daily tasks reported on the LEFS patient-oriented outcome scale. There was no significant difference in level of creatine kinase between the treatment groups. Conclusion: Pulsed photobiomodulation treatments had no significant effect when compared to the placebo group. Continuous photobiomodulation helped to reduce isokinetic force loss, yet exacerbated all other muscle damage markers following exercise relative to the placebo condition.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Exercise Sciences



Date Submitted


Document Type





photobiomodulation, phototherapy, LLLT, cold laser therapy, pulsed, continuous and a combination of these