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Cold Laser Focuses On Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Patients Can't Feel Laser, Benefit From Results

TAMPA, Fla. -- Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a common repetitive stress injury. It occurs when people use their hands and wrists a lot in a seemingly harmless manner.

People with CTS experience pain, numbness, burning and tingling in their fingers. A new treatment that could be a simple way to give patients relief.

Frank Schramek relies on his hands for his job. But when he lost the feeling in his fingers, Schramek was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. He considered surgery.

"I was going to have it done as soon as I had six weeks or 12 weeks that I could be off work and not do anything with my hands," he said.

Then Schramek heard about a new treatment.

"We've been waiting for years for noninvasive treatment, and I think we've come upon a really good one," said Marcy Rosenthal Smurthwaite, a chiropractor at Rosenthal Chiropractic Clinic in Largo, Fla.

CTS is caused by inflammation in the tendons in a narrow tunnel in the wrist. As Smurthwaite explains, "If you don't have sensation into your hand, then you feel like you can't use it."

Using a device called the cold laser, patients like Caren Cinnamon get a flash of relief.

Cinnamon, who has suffered for nine years with CTS, said: "I was dropping things. I couldn't play the piano properly. I had a tough time with the computer."

During the treatment, the laser is focused on four points in the wrist, three separate times, for 33 seconds each. Patients can't feel the laser, but they are amazed by the results.

"I can open bags. I can do my computer. I can do the piano. I can twist cans and jars open," Cinnamon said.
Studies show the laser works in 80 percent of patients.

"If it doesn't work for you within three treatments, it won't work," Smurthwaite said.
After 12 treatments, Schramek said his hands are 90 percent better.

"This has been a Godsend to me, really," he said.

The laser works by repairing the damaged cells and reducing the inflammation. The cold laser can be used on other joints in the body, including the elbow, neck, jaw and ankle. The treatment costs about $50 a session, and some insurance companies cover it.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Dr. Gralnick at 954-587-4245
Reference: http://www.local10.com/health/2706468/detail.html

Laser For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

BACKGROUND: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when tendons or ligaments in the wrist become enlarged after being aggravated. The narrowed tunnel of bones and ligaments in the wrist pinch nerves that reach fingers and muscles at the base of the thumb. For most patients, symptoms of CTS first appear at night while they are sleeping.

Some symptoms include burning, tingling and numbness in the fingers. Sometimes, the type of work people engage in can cause CTS. For example, CTS is common among assembly factory workers. CTS is the most common and widely known of all entrapment neuropathies in which the body's peripheral nerves are compressed and traumatized.

TREATMENT OPTIONS: There are a number of treatment options for patients with CTS. Researchers say some drugs effectively treat the condition. These include anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, some diuretics or water pills, and steroids. Some studies have also shown vitamin B-6 supplements may ease symptoms of CTS. Another option for treatment includes exercise. Sometimes, doctors recommend patients see a physical therapist for treatment. Yoga and acupuncture are other treatment options. For patients whose symptoms do not go away within six months, surgery is often suggested. In fact, carpal tunnel release surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. Now, a new procedure using a cold laser is available for patients as a nonsurgical option.

NEW LASER TREATMENT: Low-energy laser technology is being used to treat patients with CTS. Designers of the laser say damaged cells can benefit from light. Traditional hot laser light can penetrate the skin, but it often destroys tissue. This new cold laser technology can penetrate deep into the tissue, without destroying other tissue.

Researchers say the ML830 laser promotes the process of photobiostimulation. Photobiostimulation is similar to photosynthesis in plant cells where a chain of chemical reactions is set in motion. In human tissue, the resulting photochemical reaction produces an increase in the cellular metabolic rate, which speeds up cell repair. In clinical trials, the cold laser reduced pain, inflammation and edema in patients with CTS. Patients also had an overall reduction in healing time. The laser focuses on four points in the wrist, three times, for 30 seconds. Studies show the laser technology works on eight out of 10 patients. The cost for treatment can vary, but it generally runs around $50. Insurance companies may cover the procedure.


Dr. Jon Gralnick 954-587-4245