Are you currently pregnant, or during your pregnancy did you experience numbness and tingling or a dull ache through your fingers and wrist?
Well, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome! Carpal tunnel syndrome can start anytime during your pregnancy, however, it is more likely to begin or worsen during your second trimester of your pregnancy. There are many factors that can influence carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, and pregnancy is a common condition that causes or aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist. The median nerve runs from the spinal column at the neck, down the arm and into the wrist. When you’re pregnant, you tend to retain extra fluid, and this extra fluid can sometimes cause increased pressure or swelling in the carpal tunnel.
You may experience numbness and tingling, almost like pins and needles in the fingers. The symptoms in wrist and palms of your hands that may worsen at night. Other times you may experience throbbing sensation and swelling through the fingers and wrist. As symptoms worsen, you may have problems gripping objects or performing fine motor skills. It is not uncommon for both hands to be affected during your pregnancy, but done be alarmed!
Treatment options to help relieve your symptoms
- To relieve the discomfort, try ot pinpoint your activities that aggravate the symptoms and limiting those activities for the term of your pregnancy.
- Fun fact, yoga which has been found to be a good Zen during pregnancy and has been also known to increase hand strength and improve carpal tunnel type symptoms.
- Try to avoid bent wrist activities when possible.
- Also try adding in short breaks to move your arms and do personal hand stretches to relieve some of the pressure.
If you have not found relief with these quick fixes don’t worry! You can reach out to your healthcare provider for suggestions. They may wearing a wrist splint or brace which often relieves the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. An anti inflammatory or steroid pack would be safe for you to take while pregnancy but should be discussed with your OBGYN first. A cortisone injection could even be considered if all else fails. Cortisone injection is usually safe during pregnancy and can be helpful in resolving or helping these symptoms.
If symptoms are no longer controlled with these options, please come by one of our offices for a proper evaluation. There are always ways we can make your pregnancy more comfortable. Let us help you enjoy your pregnancy and worry less about those hands of yours.
Often symptoms resolve after delivering but if they don’t, carpal tunnel surgery may be needed.