Low-level lasers, also known as “cold lasers” or non-thermal lasers, are used as a repetitive therapy for pain and soft tissue injuries. It refers to the use of a “red-beam” that is similar to infrared lasers with a wavelength between 600 and 1000 nanometers and powered by wattage ranging from 5 to 500 milli-watts.
To give a rough idea of the relative power being used in low level laser therapy. The power behind a laser used in surgical procedures is typically around 300 Watts or at least 600 times more powerful than the low-level or cold laser therapy.
When applied to the skin, the low-level lasers produce no sensation of any kind and do not burn the skin or surrounding tissue, because of the low absorption by human skin and surface tissue and the low level power being applied broadly to the area of injury or pain.
It is hypothesized by supporters of Low-Level Laser Therapy that the laser light can penetrate deeply into the tissues where it has a “photo-bio-stimulative effect”. The exact mechanism of its effect on carpal tunnel and other pain syndromes is not well understood by the medical community. Supporters suggest that its works by improving cellular repair through stimulation of the immune, lymphatic, and vascular systems. This seems plausible, but is difficult to prove and can only be judged based on the results. As such this Cold Laser Therapy could be complimentary to Carpal Solution Therapy, but is much more expensive and time consuming.
One published Cold Laser Treatment Regimen for CTS consists of application of the laser by the practitioner at the clinic over the Carpal Canal three times a week for five weeks. The treatment is indicated for adjunctive use in the temporary relief of hand and wrist pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Other protocols have used low-level laser energy applied to acupuncture points on the body. This technique has been referred to as “laser acupuncture.”
While there may be some benefit of this type of Low-Level Laser Therapy, having to visit a medical practitioner three times a week over five weeks for temporary relief of the symptoms of a chronic syndrome like CTS could get very expensive and consume a lot of free time for temporary relief of the pain associated with this condition.