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Taking Charge of Your Health


– Welcome to Living
Healthy Chicago. I’m Jane Monzures. Now, sometimes the
biggest frustrations that come from a
health challenge are the impact they have on
small moments of everyday life. That’s why it’s
important to seek help when you’re struggling
and not just deal with it when something seems off. This next woman says she’s
grateful she got help for her carpal tunnel
syndrome for that very reason. (uplifting music) – [Jane Voiceover]
It was many years ago that Maribeth Lenz
started noticing a problem with her hands. – I no longer could hold
onto a phone in my hand. My hand would go numb and I
was constantly switching hands. Drinking a cup of coffee, if
you held that cup too long, your hand would go numb and you’d feel you
have to put it down. (coffee maker clicks) (coffee runs) – [Jane Voiceover] Those
issues eventually began to impact her routine
more and more. – It started to
progressively interfere with what was going on. I could no longer manage it. Couldn’t sleep on my side. I was constantly waking up
because my arms would go numb. When you can’t sleep,
you get crabby. Eventually I had
some pain discomfort in one of my arms and finally
said, “Enough’s enough.” – [Jane Voiceover]
Maribeth went to the doctor who ran some tests
and diagnosed her with carpal tunnel syndrome. – Hey, doc.
How are you? – Hello Maribeth. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a
very common malady of the hand. It’s essentially a compression
of the median nerve as it enervates
your hand and wrist. There are many factors that
could go into compression. For some people, work related. It could be systemic. It could be a abnormal muscle within your wrist
for some reason. People who complain
of numbness complain that the numbness is so severe that it wakes them up at night. For some people, they have
to shake out their hand. For some people, it
could also cause pain. – You get frustrated. It became part of my life, knowing that I couldn’t
do certain tasks. Started dropping things. You’re limited. – She came to me with bilateral
carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately that test
showed that it was severe. To correct it is surgical. So the idea of carpal
tunnel surgery is that you’re trying to relieve
the pressure on the nerve. – So finally I just said, “I
have to go in and get it done.” – [Jane Voiceover]
Maribeth had surgery first on one side
and then the other, and it didn’t take long
for her to notice a change. – Within 24 hours, I
could tell the difference. The numbness and the tingling and the I can’t feel my
hand anymore, that’s gone. – We did her second
surgery, I would say, four to six weeks
after the first. She did very well. Her recovery was very fast. For patients who have
severe carpal tunnel, surgery may eliminate
their numbness and night pain
almost that night. – The strength is
coming back every day. I can hold a conversation,
hold my phone for 15 minutes. – [Jane Voiceover] Maribeth
says one of the best parts of feeling better is being able to enjoy everyday moments,
like playing with her dog. – Good girl. I can play tug-of-war
with my German shepard. Now the limitation is
how long can I do it as opposed to I couldn’t do it. It’s a wonderful feeling. Just gives you the freedom
to do what I need to do, to walk the dog,
to hold the leash instead of always
switching hands. – [Jane Voiceover] Maribeth
hopes other struggling with carpal tunnel
will hear her story and decide to get help instead
of living with frustration. – Talk to your
doctor and find out what the best course
of action is for you. Getting that information, you can make the best choice
for what you need to do. – Carpal tunnel syndrome
is a common condition. Management depends
on the severity. Carpal tunnel syndrome could
be treated without surgery. If it is surgical, it’s a very
minimally invasive surgery with a quick recovery. If a person starts having
numbness in their fingers, if it’s persistent and it
doesn’t get better with time, then you should see your
doctor to get evaluated. – Don’t be afraid to do
something to improve your life and the day-to-day things
that you do every day. It’s fixable. It’s not something that
you have to live with. I feel so much better. I’m just glad I did it and now I can move
forward and do more. (dog barks)

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