Get a Grip on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Franciscan’s team offers superior skills, better outcomes

Bea Christophersen

Although carpal tunnel syndrome is often the result of long hours on a computer keyboard, it can be caused by any repetitive wrist movement. Take 57-year-old Bea Christophersen, a mail carrier whose steady hands helped her deliver mail for more than 38 years.

When Bea first felt stiffness and numbness in her hands and wrists, she ignored it, figuring she’d just strained her hands or they’d fallen asleep. When the symptoms became more frequent and severe, she met with Franciscan Medical Group neurosurgeon Daniel Nehls, MD, FACS, who diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Advanced options for you

Dr. NehlsUsing advanced knowledge and training, surgeons help sufferers develop a treatment plan that’s right for them. “Conservative treatments, including anti-inflammatory drugs and hand splinting, can relieve symptoms,” says Alan B. Thomas, MD, orthopedic surgeon. “But without surgery, the problem may come back.”

That’s what happened to Bea. “I lived with symptoms for a long time,” she says. “My hands were weak and numb. I even wore a brace at night to keep my hands from falling asleep.”

Tunnel traffic

The carpal tunnel is a rigid passageway of bones and tendons that surround the median nerve,responsible for hand and finger sensation and thumb strength. If carpal tendons become irritated or swollen, pressure can be placed on the median nerve, causing pain, numbness and tingling.

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is usually minimally invasive and is performed at our outpatient center.

“Patients who use their hands repeatedly can return to work in a month or less, at least for a light-duty version of their jobs,” says orthopedic surgeon Neville Lewis, MD. Bea ultimately opted for surgery, and she’s glad she did. “Strength is gradually returning to my fingers and wrists, and my hands don’t fall asleep anymore. I’m ready to get back to work.”

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