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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pregnancy
Author : Carolyn Eagle, Senior Editor, Health Media Today Category : Pregnancy and Childbirth
Have you been having numbness and tingling in your fingers and wrist during your pregnancy? It may be more common than you think. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if often associated with repetitive work that puts pressure on the hands and wrists, such as computer processing, or assembly line work but it is also more common amongst pregnant women.
WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
The Median nerve (also called the carpal tunnel) passes through your wrist, on the palm side of the hand, serving your thumb and the first three fingers. When the Median nerve gets compressed, it swells up and causes the symptoms that are typical of carpal tunnel syndrome.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CARPAL TUNNEL?
· Pain, tingling, and numbness in either hand, particularly in the thumb and first three fingers
· Burning pain that ravels up the arm
· Night time wrist pain that interferes with sleep
· Hand “falls asleep” easily and often
· Dropping objects due to hand numbness
· Aching pain in the forearm between the elbow and wrist
· Stiffness in the fingers when you wake in the morning
WHY DO PREGNANT WOMEN GET CARPAL TUNNEL?
Because carpal tunnel is caused by the swelling of the median nerve, pregnant woman are particularly susceptible in their second trimester, when overall fluid retention and swelling are more prevalent. This overall retention puts pressure on the nerve, causing it to compress and become inflamed.
HOW CAN I MANAGE MY SYMPTOMS
If you suspect that you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, speak with your doctor to determine the severity of the symptoms and how you wish to treat it. Surgery is an option and is a fairly simple procedure that can bring relief for extreme cases, but you can also try to manage your symptoms through these simple tips:
· Adjust your desk chair so your hands are not bent downwards as you type
· Put your wrists or hands in a splint or brace to sleep or even to work – inexpensive braces are available at your local pharmacy
· Try an ergonomic keyboard
· Take breaks to stretch your hands and wrists
· Ice your wrists for 10-15 minutes once or twice an hour
· Sleep with your hands and wrists elevated slightly
· Do not sleep on your hands.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel should start to reduce after you deliver your baby but if they don’t, be sure to speak with your health practitioner for more information on how to better treat the problem.