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 she 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, Bea met with Neurosurgeon Daniel Nehls, MD, FACS, of the Franciscan Medical Group. He diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome.
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.
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,” she says. “I’m ready to get back to work.”