Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know
Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. It comes with a lot of changes, both physical and emotional. However, for some women, pregnancy can also mean developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This article will explore what carpal tunnel syndrome is, how it can develop during pregnancy, and what you can do to ease the symptoms.
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and arm. The condition is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than men. It is also more common during pregnancy, with up to 5 of every 10 women experiencing symptoms.
Why do pregnant women develop carpal tunnel syndrome?
When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to fluid retention, which can cause swelling. In tight spaces such as the carpal tunnel in the wrist, the swelling can push against the median nerve leading to pain in your wrist and hand.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel in pregnancy?
The intensity of symptoms during pregnancy can be mild, moderate, or severe. You may find it hard to get a restful sleep at night or have difficulty doing your everyday tasks such as cooking or working.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
-Numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers
-Pain in the wrist or hand
-Weakness in the hand
-Difficulty gripping or holding objects
Symptoms can become worse by:
-doing the same hand movements frequently
-maintaining the same hand position for a long time
-not stretching your hands
How is carpel tunnel syndrome treated?
Treating carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on the severity of your condition and the stage of your pregnancy. Here’s a list of treatment options for pregnant women. -Wearing a wrist brace can be an effective way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy. The wrist brace will help to stabilize the wrist and relieve pressure on the median nerve. It is important to wear the wrist brace during activities that may aggravate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
-Occupational therapy can help manage carpal tunnel symptoms. This therapy can help to improve the range of motion and strength in the affected hand. It can also help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Your therapistscan provide education about how to perform activities safely and help to modify tasks to reduce stress on the wrist and hand.
-Applying topical cream can help to reduce inflammation and pain. However, it won’t address the root of the problem. Some patients take pain relievers such as Tylenol which is generally considered safe as long as you don’t exceed 3,000 mg daily.
Talk to your Ob/Gyn before using any topical cream or over-the-counter medications.
If you are pregnant and suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, don't despair — there are things you can do to ease the pain. Talk to your doctor about wrist splints or other supports that can help take the pressure off your wrists.
Also, be sure to take breaks throughout the day to give your hands a rest. With a little care, you can get through pregnancy with minimal discomfort from carpal tunnel syndrome.