(February 8, 2012, Jackson, Miss.) When Sylvia Flounoil of Madison realized her hand was bothering her after performing simple tasks, she ignored it and tried to push past the pain. But once her thumb began sinking, she decided it was time to see a physician.
Nerve testing indicated Flounoil had a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which was aggravated by years of data entry during her job as an administrative assistant.
The physician told Flounoil her thumb was sinking due to a severe muscle atrophy, and she would need surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve caused by Carpal Tunnel.
After her surgery in November 2011, Flounoil began experiencing difficulties. "I couldn't make a fist," she said. "My thumb was bent and swollen. I couldn't do anything for myself - my husband had to do everything for me."
Flounoil was experiencing what is known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). While there is no known cause of RSD, a physician can diagnose it based on symptoms such as severe burning pain, sensitivity to touch, swollen and reddish look, stiffening, and warm and sweaty sensation. Late-stage RSD includes skin withering, loss of strength, strange hair growth, and ridges in the skin looking flatter than normal.
Flounoil was referred to St. Dominic's Hand Management Center where she began therapy sessions with Robin Parish, Clinical Coordinator and Certified Hand Therapist.
"We began therapy by performing heat modalities, desensitization, range of motion and functional activity exercises," Parish said. "At first, Sylvia was very detached from her therapy. Because patients need to be involved in order to have successful recoveries, I needed Sylvia to become engaged."
Parish began educating Flounoil on her condition and customizing therapy exercises to focus on her interests, such as basketball and pottery. "Activities that engage a patient's spirit bring back motor patterns," Parish said. "These activities take the patient's mind off the pain and treat not just the hand, but the whole person."
After a couple of months of therapy sessions, Flounoil has regained mobilization of her hand and credits St. Dominic's Hand Management team for her success. "I celebrated any little accomplishment," she said. "I couldn't do even the smallest things people take for granted, like tying my shoes, opening doors, cutting vegetables, etc. Now I can."
Flounoil said the best part of the experience was working with professional hand therapists at St. Dominic's. "Everyone here really works together and focuses on teamwork," she said. "The therapists use fascinating tools to help others get well. I want to thank everyone at St. Dominic's Hand Management Center and my husband who cared for me. I finally have my hand and my life back."
Established in 1988, St. Dominic's Hand Management Center is a multi-specialty clinic providing continuous care for persons with injury or disease affecting the upper extremities (hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder). The center boasts six certified hand therapists with over 140 years of combined experience.
For more information about St. Dominic's Hand Management Center, visit www.stdom.com or call 601-200-4920.
About St. Dominic’s
St. Dominic’s is more than just a hospital. It is a family of services focused on fulfilling a mission of Christian healing to those in need. St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. is the parent company for a large group of subsidiary organizations and programs dedicated to the same mission. These include St. Dominic Hospital, the Community Health Services Clinic, St. Dominic Medical Associates (physician network), New Directions for Over 55, MEA Clinics, The Club at St. Dominic’s, the School Nurse Program, St. Dominic’s Foundation, St. Catherine’s Village and Care-A-Van.
St. Dominic Hospital is a 535-bed tertiary care hospital located in Jackson, MS serving all of central Mississippi and employs approximately 3,000 nurses, physicians, and skilled caregivers. The medical staff, of nearly 500 leading physicians and specialists, makes St. Dominic’s one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Mississippi. Through 65 years of growth, St. Dominic’s has remained true to its vision. We are St. Dominic’s – a Christian healing community called to provide quality, compassionate care and an Exceptional Encounter Everytime.