The Value of Thermal Imaging of Low Back Pain Problems Treated With Laser Therapy

Author: Stephen Davis
Source: Meditherm Canada


This report is based on a study exploring the value of medical thermography (or infrared thermal imaging) in the diagnosis and monitoring of the progress of therapy applied in a variety of back pathologies. Thermal imaging is a non-invasive technology that measures the infrared temperatures emitted from the skin surface, as a reflection of normal or abnormal physiology. This particular study was confined to problems relating to the spine, consisting primarily of degenerative osteoarthritis and disc herniations, some of which were accompanied by stenosis, radiculitis and other complications. The study was presented at the recent American College of Clinical Thermology Conference in October 2009 in Fort Myers, Florida.


Thermographic imaging scans were taken after the initial diagnosis was established and follow-up studies were carried out after the fifth treatment (see Figure 1). Generally, patients in this Figure category require 5 or more treatments for a satisfactory resolution of their condition. Treatment is considered to be completed when the patient no longer experiences pain, does not require pharmaceuticals and has the ability to carry on normally with regard to work and regular physical activities.

The preliminary study was conducted over a 6 week span. Eighteen patients participated; these were suffering from degenerative disc disease or herniations with associated nerve root compression. Patients’ age range extended from 48 to 81 years and none had received Laser Therapy previously.

All baseline thermography imaging scans prior to treatments were taken using the Meditherm Med2000 camera and Thermal Evaluation Software. Each patient received 5 Laser Therapy treatments using the BioFlex Laser Therapy System. Prior to receiving their 6th treatment, each patient underwent mid-treatment thermography imaging, and all scans were sent to a third-party interpreter for electronic medical interpretation.


All thermography imaging scans confirmed, localized and established the extent of the anticipated clinical findings resulting from their lesions and the associated complications. Interpretation revealed that after receiving only 5 Laser Therapy treatments, 87.5% of the patients had a positive response that was significant. Furthermore, 37.5% of the patients had complete resolution of their conditions. Another 37.5% of the patients had significant reduction of their symptoms, while the remainder of the patients either had partial or minimal reduction, indicating that they required continuing treatment. Normally, in our past experience, an average of 10 treatment sessions is necessary to achieve resolution of problems.


  • Thermographic imaging of patients with low back pain confirms, identifies, and localizes inflammation relating to their respective pathologies and associated complications, prior to the initiation of Laser Therapy.
  • The results of this preliminary study using thermography reaffirms that Laser Therapy is a safe, non-toxic, non-invasive, highly effective treatment for low back pain; moreover, healing results without the usual transient symptomatic relief, adverse side effects, and post-procedural complications, commonly associated with other therapeutic approaches.
  • Thermographic imaging is a useful evaluation tool in measuring the progress of back pathologies in response to Laser Therapy.

For more information on thermography and the Meditherm Med2000 camera, please contact Stephen Davis from Meditherm Canada at or 1-866-634-8854.

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