What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is pain, weakness and numbness are all associated with pressure on the median nerve as it goes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist. Inflamed tissues such as swollen synovium of the flexor tendons can lead to weakness; burning and tingling in the hand and fingers. If the swelling becomes severe or the condition is allowed to occur for a long period of time the pinched cells in the median nerve can die causing permanent damage and disability. Muscles atrophy (shrink) which may lead to impaired grip and use of the hand.
Whether you’ve just started getting carpal tunnel symptoms and they’re not that bad (like your hands are falling asleep in the middle of the night) or you’ve been suffering for years with unbearable, numbness, tingling and pain that’s ruining your life (and even if you’ve had surgery) or anywhere in between, there is hope for you now!
FACTS ABOUT CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME:
The U.S. Department of Labor has concluded that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the chief occupational hazard of the 90’s – disabling workers in epidemic proportions.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the number one reported medical problem, accounting for about 50 % of all work related injuries.
Only 25% of all Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients were able to return to their previous profession following surgery.
Up to 36% of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome patients require unlimited medical treatment.
Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the second most common type of surgery, with well over 230,000 procedures performed annually.
WITH OVER 230,000 SURGERIES PERFORMED EVERY YEAR AND ONLY 25% ARE ABLE TO THEIR PREVIOUS PROFESSION… IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THAT’S THE ANSWER.
First we must make sure that you actually have carpal tunnel syndrome and not another peripheral nerve entrapment such as a pronator syndrome or a cubital tunnel syndrome. It also important to determine that you don’t have a double or triple crush syndrome ( the nerve is being compressed in more than one spot. In addition, if you have carpal tunnel syndrome in more than one hand then you may have a metabolic contribution to your condition such as undiagnosed diabetes, thyroid disease or a systemic arthritis. These are all factors which are determined by careful history and physical examination. Many times when we see patients with failed carpal tunnel surgeries ( they had the surgery and the pain has returned or never went away to start with) these issues have not been address appropriately.
In addition to standard treatments such as bracing, vitamin supplementation, manipulation and neuromuscular techniques our main treatment modality for carpal tunnel syndrome is High Power Laser Therapy. High Power Laser Therapy is painless, requires no preparation, is an outpatient procedure. High Power Therapeutic Laser is extremely effective fort the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome but it has to be pointed at the correct target or targets to be effective. Contributing causes and complicating factors must also be addressed in order to have the highest chance for a full recovery. That is why a thorough history and examination are so essential.
High Power Laser Therapy
High Power Laser Therapy is a new non-invasive treatment performed on an out patient basis for conditions that have previously been non-responsive to other forms of treatment and surgery. With this painless, non-surgical therapy patients typically gain relief within a few treatments. In clinical studies, patients receiving laser therapy have experienced a significant reduction in pain. There has been a worldwide research effort undertaken to better understand the many therapeutic benefits of laser therapy.
Results come from the laser’s ability to “Bio-stimulate” tissue growth and repair. This results in accelerated wound healing as well as a dramatic decrease in pain, inflammation, and scar tissue formation. Unlike all other treatment modalities, a laser treatment actually “heals” tissue as well as providing a powerful non addictive form of pain management. The laser’s superior results come from its ability to deliver healing laser energy to the targeted tissues at any depth.
Biological effects of therapeutic lasers.
Laser therapy aims to bio-stimulate injured and dysfunctional tissues. Clinical studies and trials of class three and four laser technology indicate the following beneficial effects of light therapy tissues and cells:
One. Anti-pain (analgesic)
Laser therapy has a high beneficial effect on nerve cells which block pain transmitted by the cells to the brain and which decreases nerve sensitivity.
Also, due to less inflammation, there is less edema and less pain. Another pain blocking mechanism involves the production of high levels of pain killing chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins from the brain and adrenal glands.
Two. Accelerated tissue repair and cell growth.
Photons of light from lasers penetrate deeply into tissue and accelerate cellular reproduction and growth.
Therapeutic lasers increase the energy available to the cells so that the cells can take in nutrients faster and get rid of waste products.
As a result of exposure to laser energy, the region in cells of tendons, ligaments and muscles repair disruption faster.
Three. Improve nerve function.
Slow recovery nerve functions in damaged tissue can result in numbness and impaired limbs.
Laser light will speed up the process of nerve cell reconnection and increase the amplitude of action potentials to optimize muscle action.
Laser light therapy has an anti-edemic effect as it causes vasodilation, but also because it activates the lymphatic drainage system (drain swollen areas).
Five. Improved vascular activity.
Laser light will significantly increase the formation of new capillaries in damaged tissue that speeds up the healing process, closes wounds quickly and reduces scar tissue.
Additional benefits include acceleration of angiogenesis, which causes temporary vasodilation, an increase in the diameter of blood vessels.
Six. Increased metabolic activity.
Laser therapy creates higher outputs of specific enzymes, greater oxygen and food particle loads for increased metabolic blood cells.
Seven. Reduced fibrous tissue formation.
Laser light therapy reduces the formation of scar tissue following tissue damage from cuts and scratches, burns or surgery.
Eight. Faster wound healing.
Laser light stimulates fibroblast development (fibroblast are the building blocks of collagen, which is predominant in wound healing) in damaged tissue.
Collagen is the essential protein required to replace all tissue and to repair injuries.
As a result, laser therapy is effective in repairing open wounds and burns faster.
Why our laser therapy works.
This is not a cold or low level laser therapy device (LLLT). It is a High Power Therapeutic Laser with the ability to stimulate accelerated healing energy within a continuum of treatment depths from superficial to extremely deep. This enables the accelerated treatment of sprain/strains and intra-articular tissues (inside the joints) unreachable by any other physical therapy or class III, low level laser.
Lasers are classified by the power (in milli-watts) they deliver. Class III lasers, also known as a low level lasers or “cold lasers” range in power from 5 mw to a maximum of 500mw. Although some success has been had with low level lasers the trends are toward more power for greater stimulation, this is where we shine. Our laser produces 7,500mw of continuous power. Prior to the development of our “high power divergence technology” all class IV lasers were utilized for surgery, due to their strength and convergent beam characteristics. Our laser harnesses the tremendous power and the penetration of a surgical laser without producing harmful side effects. This provides penetration and stimulation of injured and/or dysfunctional tissues up to 20 times the depth into the body as compared to most conventional low level lasers. Our laser provides all the benefits of “gold standard” physical therapy modalities along with three additional advantages:
One. Regeneration of injured tissues.
Two. Faster therapeutic results.
Three. The deeper delivery of therapeutic energy into the body (up to 5-6 in.).
What does the treatment feel like and where can I expect to see results?
Patients typically describe the feeling of warmth and profound relaxation. Most patients begin to see results in three to five treatments. Treatment sessions can range from 10 to 20 minutes