WLFI Interviews Dr. John Bauman about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Could you be at risk for Carpal Tunnel?


Elisabeth Rentschler

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - For more than a decade, Debbie Zachman has been living with pain.

"I wore braces every night to bed and in the daytime when I would be doing things, my hand would go numb," said Zachman. "So, then I'd have to relax and let it rest."

Zachman has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which according to Orthopedic Hand Surgeon Dr. John Bauman, is compression of a nerve.

Dr. Bauman said the Median nerve, which runs from the neck down through the arm, must go through a tunnel at the wrist. He said pressure can build up around that nerve, making it harder for blood to reach. When that happens, you feel the effects of Carpal Tunnel

"Some people complain of a little bit of pain, although the pain is usually not the main component," said Dr. Bauman. "It's more the numbness, tingling, clumsiness with fine activities such as fastening a button or picking up a small object."

Dr. Bauman said Carpal Tunnel is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60, but say pregnant women of any age, are also at risk.

"During pregnancy, you have more fluid in your body in general, and that can increase the pressure on that nerve at the wrist and make it harder for blood to get to that nerve," said Dr. Bauman.

Dr. Bauman said Carpal Tunnel in pregnant women is temporary, but said if you've been living in pain for a longer period of time like Zachman, you don't have to be.

In fact, surgery to relieve the pain of Carpal Tunnel only takes about 10 minutes. On Tuesday, Zachman took 10 minutes to make sure she can live the rest of her life pain free.

"I had trouble driving, I've had trouble gardening, I've had trouble doing computer work," said Zachman. "So, everything will be much better."

Dr. Bauman said Zachman's stitches will be removed in about a week, but said her hand could take more than six weeks to fully heal.