Carpal Tunnel and Pregnancy
If during pregnancy you have been experiencing numbness, tingling, and burning. As well as pain, pins and needles sensation or loss of strength in your hands and fingers its possible you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is estimated that around 25 percent of women experience Carpal Tunnel during pregnancy. It usually is most noticeable in the second and third trimesters and may extend past childbirth.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist made up of carpal bones and the transverse carpal ligament. Within this passageway are your flexor tendons and the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensation to the thumb, index, middle and radial half of the ring finger. It also innervates the thumb thenar muscles and lumbricals to the index and middle fingers, explaining why you might experience weakness in your grip or pinch.
As you may have already figured out, during pregnancy fluid retention (edema) occurs. This increase in swelling in the wrist pinches or squeezes the median nerve causing one or all of the symptoms described above.
How to get relief of Carpal Tunnel during pregnancy?
To decrease these symptoms it is recommended you eat a balanced diet so you gain a healthy amount of weight. Cut down on salt, sugar and fat. Drink plenty of water and eat more fruits and vegetables each day.
You should also reduce repetitive activities such as typing and be sure to avoid tasks that place your wrist in flexion for extended times. If symptoms are severe you may try wearing wrist splints that place wrists in a neutral position and ice several times a day for 10 minutes. It is also recommended that you perform median nerve stretches.
Median Nerve Stretch:
Perform five repetitions of this stretch holding each repitition for five seconds. It is recommended that you do this exercise up to 5 times a day. You should only perform stretch to a slight pulling tension in your neck, arm and hand. If this causes pain or symptoms increase, discontinue this stretch.