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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Effectiveness of low-level laser therapy for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: design of a randomized single-blinded controlled trial

Rafael Inácio Barbosa1*, Eula Katucha da Silva Rodrigues1, Guilherme Tamanini1, Alexandre Márcio Marcolino1, Valéria Meirelles Carril Elui2, Rinaldo Roberto de Jesus Guirro3, Nilton Mazzer3 and Marisa de Cássia Registro Fonseca3

Author Affiliations

1 Rehabilitation and Functional Performance Program, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP CEP 14049-900, Brasil

2 Department of Neurology, Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP CEP 14049-900, Brazil

3 Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of the Locomotor Apparatus, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP CEP 14049-900, Brazil

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:248  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-248

Published: 13 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common neuropathy in the upper extremity, resulting from the compression of the median nerve at wrist level. Clinical studies are essentials to present evidence on therapeutic resources use at early restoration on peripheral nerve functionality. Low-level laser therapy has been widely investigated in researches related to nerve regeneration. Therefore, it is suggested that the effect of low-level laser therapy associated with other conservative rehabilitation techniques may positively affect symptoms and overall hand function in compressive neuropathies such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy in addition to orthoses therapy and home orientations in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Methods/Design

Patients older than 18 years old will be included, with clinical diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, excluding comorbidies. A physiotherapist will conduct intervention, with a blinding evaluator. Randomization will be applied to allocate the patients in each group: with association or not to low-level laser therapy. All of them will be submitted to orthoses therapy and home orientations. Outcome will be assessed through: pain visual analogic scale, Semmes Weinstein monofilaments™ threshold sensibility test, Pinch Gauge™, Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire and two point discrimination test.

Discussion

This paper describes the design of a randomized controlled trial, which aim to assess the effectiveness of conservative treatment added to low-level laser therapy for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Trial registration

Brazilian Clinical Trials Registry (ReBec) - 75ddtf / Universal Trial Number: U1111-1121-5184

Keywords:
Carpal tunnel syndrome; Low-level laser therapy; Rehabilitation