– Sebastian Sun, October 9, 2003
By Rachael Jackson, staff writer
A new cold laser treatment can provide a surgical alternative for sufferers of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, athletic injuries; and other soft and connective tissue disorders. The treatment is painless and non-invasive and, according to MicrolightLaser®, its manufacturer, it can make the difference in full and partial recovery for Carpal Tunnel patients.
Cold, hard facts: New laser treats various illsFor years, the pain was so great Pat Ground couldn't stand on her tiptoes. There were times when she could hardly walk. The Sebastian banker tried doctor after doctor, endured several types of treatments, but nothing seemed to make a real lasting difference in the swollen nerves in her feet.
But now, after only a month of a new laser treatment by chiropractor Jeff Stepanek at Sebastian Chiropractic, Ground, 58, happily reports she can retrieve items from a top shelf without enduring tremendous pain from a condition called Morton's Neuroma.
Stepanek recently obtained the Microlight cold laser, which can treat a wide range of ailments. The laser offers a non-invasive treatment alternative for soft and connective tissue disorders such as athletic injuries, Morton's Neuroma and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a stress injury caused by repetitive movements such as typing or working on an assembly line that can cause progressive loss of function in the hand.
MicrolightLaser®, the company that manufactures the handheld, battery-operated device claims its laser can make the difference between partial and full recovery in Carpal Tunnel sufferers.
"It's been wonderful with my patients," Stepanek said. "Every single person has responded."
Although hot lasers are used for procedures such as correcting vision and removing tumors, the heat can destroy tissue as the laser penetrates. Stepanek said the cold lasers work by using frequencies of energy that are the same frequencies the body uses when healing. The laser, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, stimulates parts of the cell to accelerate healing in injuries that do not seem to respond to other treatments.
Stepanek 35, who lives in Sebastian, even tested the laser on his girlfriend when she accidentally cut herself with a kitchen knife. Stepanek said the cut, which went through to the muscle, normally would have taken at least three weeks to heal. After four days of laser treatments the wound was reduced to a red line. After a week it had healed completely.
The schedule of laser treatments varies for different conditions, but Stepanek said most people require three 15-minute visits a week for two to four weeks. A daily regime of laser treatments can accelerate healing and minimize scarring from post-surgical wounds.
He has also used the laser to treat arthritis, chronic joint pain and ankle sprains. Stepanek learned about the cold laser from his brother, Chris Stepanek, a Vero Beach chiropractor.
Jeff Stepanek said research on the laser suggests it speeds healing by 30 to 50 percent. After using the laser for about a month, and very positive responses from his patients, he said that seems like a conservative estimate.
"With the laser I noticed a difference in the pain the day after the first treatment," Ground said. "It definitely was a marked difference from the other things I tried."
Ground said she is waiting to see how long the laser's effects will last.