Laser light may tame Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
December 9, 1996
Web posted at: 5:15 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Al Hinman
EAST BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (CNN) -- A doctor in New Jersey is testing what may prove to be the simplest, most effective treatment yet for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a computer-age scourge far worse than system crashes or Internet slowdowns.
Dr. Alan Lichtbroun, an East Brunswick rheumatologist, is experimenting with the application of low-energy laser light to soothe the nerves of CTS sufferers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a debilitating nerve condition affecting the hands and wrists of millions of people who perform repetitive tasks like typing on a computer keyboard or playing a guitar.
Mark White almost lost his gig as bass player for the pop group The Spin Doctors when CTS crippled his hand. But after regular doses of low-energy laser treatment, White felt rejuvenated.
"It's like having a hand again. ... It's pretty amazing," said White.
Lichtbroun is often the last resort for people who have failed to find a successful treatment for their CTS-related pain.
"We have dramatic results in the burning, tingling pain that keeps people up at night," said Lichtbroun of the so-called "cold" laser treatment.
Seeking FDA approval
Lichtbroun is in the midst of a multi-year test he hopes will lead to Food and Drug Administration approval of the treatment and its availability to all CTS victims.
But Lichtbroun cautions that the laser treatment does not work for everyone, a fact he concedes may be behind the FDA's refusal so far to approve it for general use.
The treatment is based on more than two decades of research documenting the ability of certain laser frequencies to activate endorphins, chemicals produced by the body to reduce pain.
Lichtbroun says the laser light stimulates nerves, tissues and increases blood circulation. The process aids in the reduction of swelling.
Mark White is a believer. He avoided painful surgery and is back in the studio working with The Spin Doctors on a new record.
"Now I can actually play," White said. "It's unbelievable."
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