Wrist Pain During Pregnancy
Did you know that up to 60% of women get wrist pain during pregnancy? Protecting your wrists and preventing carpal tunnel syndrome is so important throughout pregnancy.
This wrist pain does tend to occur more in the third trimester, but can also occur at various other stages. A lot of the tingling is due to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Stick To A Balanced Diet As Much As Possible
One of the reasons for the swelling and build up of fluid is due to weight gain and hormonal fluctuations. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy is never a good thing. So to prevent too much weight gain and the worsening of the CTS, it is best to cut as much salt, sugar and fat as possible. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
What Helps Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy
Whether minor or severe, at one time or another, many of us have experienced an injury to the finger, hand, wrist or elbow. Our Ultimate Guide to Hand, Wrist and Elbow Injuries discusses causes of pain, injury prevention and when to seek care from a professional.
A medical side effect and risk factor during the second and third trimester of pregnancy can be carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is what happens when the median nerve to the hand is constricted as it goes through the wrist, which can cause nerve compression, leading to symptoms. The median nerve controls the fingers feeling and muscles at the base of the thumb.
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Kinesio Taping During Pregnancy +techniques For The Pregnant Belly
You ever seen that brightly colored, flashy looking tape that athletes normally wear while playing sports? What if I were to tell you that this very tape can help relieve many of your pregnancy discomforts?
My husbands physical therapist put this tape on his back one day during therapy and he came home all bandaged up. I asked him, what the heck is that stuff? He said Kinesiology tape.
Whats kinesiology tape? I wondered.
Its an elastic therapeutic tape use to treat, recover, and to prevent injuries. With the acrylic adhesive, it serves to lift the skin and promote better blood circulation. Its usually worn by sports athletes and nowadays its a universal used for example, the elderly, to treat normal home injuries, pregnant ladies and etc. Other than treating injuries, it can also educate the neuromuscular system for stabiliser and posture correction purpose.
The natural elasticity of the tape gently lifts the skin, helping to promote circulation and relieve pressue on pain receptors. When applied correctly, it begins working immediately and can continue to provide relief 24/7 for 3-5 days per application.
How does this help you to feel better exactly, though?This tape facilitates the bodys natural healing process and range of motion by providing support and stability to muscles and joints, improving blood flow, reducing pain and swelling and controlling inflammation.
Below are few general benefits of kinesio tape:
- Prevent injuries
Technique #1: Belly Belt
Preventing Carpal Tunnel: What To Do
- Talk to your doctor about getting a wrist brace that helps relieve pain, says Dr. Trupin.
- Try this exercise from the AAOS: Curl fingers into a fist, and bend your wrist toward the palm. Then straighten fingers and stretch your wrist in the other direction. Do 10 reps at least once a day.
- If you spend a lot of time on the computer, take frequent stretching breaks. Also, adjust your keyboard or get one with a cushioned support so wrists are in a straight position.
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What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is swelling or a buildup of fluid in the wrist. It is often associated with professions that require repetitive movement of the wrist, or strong grips, such as computer workers, mechanics, assembly line workers, musicians, painters, and gardeners.
Not sure whether the symptoms youre experiencing are due to CTS? These are the most common signs and symptoms of CTS, experienced in most cases from week 30 and on of pregnancy.
- Tingling or numbness in part of the hand
- Throbbing or burning sensation in the hands, wrists, and fingers
- Stiffness or cramping of hands, especially in the morning
- Thumb weakness
- Trouble gripping objects or performing tasks such as opening jars or buttoning a shirt.
CTS is usually worse in your dominant hand, and in more than half of pregnancy carpal tunnel syndrome cases, it occurs in both hands.
Some women are more likely to develop CTS during pregnancy than others. They include:
- Women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy
- Women carrying multiples
- Women with gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension
- Women who have experienced CTS in past pregnancies.
While carpal tunnel syndrome may cause a lot of discomfort, it is usually not a serious condition. In most cases, it resolves within 3 months after birth once swelling has subsided and hormone levels have returned to normal.
More Tips To Prevent Swelling
Try to avoid salty foods and drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water. “Yes, it sounds contradictory, but this actually helps you flush out your system,” Dr. Trupin says. And eat foods that are natural diuretics like grapefruit and asparagus.
Coolness has also been shown to promote circulation, so hopping in a pool or a cool bath may feel fabulous. “I put my feet in cool, minty water at night when they were very tired, hot, and swollen,” says Amber Wylie, a mother of one from Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
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How It Can Be Treated During Pregnancy
While many women who experience CTS during pregnancy report that symptoms went away within one year following delivery, it is recommended that the associated symptoms be treated during pregnancy. Here are some ways to effectively manage the condition:
- Avoid irritating activities like typing on a keyboard or texting.
- Wear a wrist brace or splint to bed.
- Apply ice or a cold compress to the affected hand or wrist
- Rest and elevate your affected wrist when possible.
- Talk to your doctor about what over the counter pain relievers you can take.
- Speak to your physical therapist about possible treatment options if your pain persists.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is quite literally a tunnel a packed fibro-osseous tunnel located on the palm side of the wrist. Normal pressures in this tunnel are 20-30 mmHg. The median nerve, which runs down the length of your arm, passes through the carpal tunnel to your palm side. The median nerve is responsible for controlling sensation and movement in the thumb and first three fingers.
When the median nerve becomes chronically compressed, this first will result in demyelination and eventually in axonal death, which will lead to tingling, numbness, and pain in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. This is carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Will I Still Have Pain After My Baby Is Born
Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to ease, and often disappears, after birth. If you still have pain after your baby is born, you may need to change the way you use your wrist. This might impact on how you use your hand to hold and care for your baby, including how you feed your baby.
Speak to your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or lactation consultant for strategies and tips on how to minimise strain on your wrist while holding your newborn. Try to use a pram where possible to give your arm a chance to rest. It is also important to continue using your brace or splint if you have one.
While carpal tunnel syndrome is common during pregnancy, 19 out of 20 women will recover within the first 6 weeks after the baby is born. If your symptoms persist after your baby is 6 weeks old, speak to your doctor.
Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome In Pregnancy
1. Numbness and tingling in fingers, wrists, and hand.
2. Throbbing sensation in hands, wrists, and fingers.
3. Swollen fingers.
5. Problems performing fine motor skills.
Are some pregnant women at an increased risk?
Yes, some pregnant women are more prone to develop CTS than others. Here are some risk factors of CTS:
1. Past pregnancies
Relaxin may be seen in higher amounts in subsequent pregnancies. This hormone helps the pelvis and cervix expand during pregnancy in preparation for childbirth. It can also cause inflammation in the carpal tunnel, squeezing the median nerve.
2. Being overweight before becoming pregnant
It’s unclear if weight causes CTS. But pregnant women who are overweight or obese receive diagnoses with the condition more frequently than pregnant women who aren’t overweight or obese.
3. Having pregnancy-related diabetes or hypertension
Gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension can both lead to fluid retention and subsequent swelling. This, in turn, can increase the risk of CTS.
4. High blood sugar levels can also cause inflammation.
This may further increase the risk of CTS.
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Can I Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy
Nearly all women experience swelling that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in the last trimester of pregnancy. Its unfortunately one of those symptoms you cant do much about, so try to soldier on through until delivery!
There are steps you can take if youre worried about the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome while you’re pregnant. Try to minimize time spent doing intensive manual tasks such as typing, sewing or knitting, and take breaks to move around and stretch. No Facebooking or Instagramming for hours on end, either!
Pain Relief For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Dr. Fowler suggests easing up on the activities that aggravate your hands the most.
You should avoid activities that force your wrists into a flexed or bent-back position, like typing or holding onto handles of gym equipment.
Carpal tunnel symptoms can often feel the worst at night or right after you wake up.
I often recommend wearing splints at night to prevent you from bending the palm down toward the wrist, he says. Bending down, or up, causes restricted blood flow to the nerve. In severe, unrelenting cases, I can perform an ultrasound-guided injection of corticosteroids into the carpal tunnel. This provides most patients with relief.
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What Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTS occurs when the median nerve becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve runs from the neck, down the arm, and to the wrist. This nerve controls feeling in the fingers.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway made up of tiny carpal bones and ligaments. When the tunnel is narrowed by swelling, the nerve is compressed. This leads to pain in the hand and numbness or burning in the fingers.
How To Stop Wrist Pain During Pregnancy
Your goal now is to try and reduce the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. Doing this will go a long way in helping you to be symptom-free after childbirth.
1. Keep the blood flowing. Shake your hands out frequently.
2. Use a wrist brace.
3. Try some of my stretching exercises for the wrists.
4. Buy an ergonomic keyboard designed to protect your hands and fingers.
5. Avoid sleeping on your hands.
6. Use ice for pain. Never apply ice directly on your skin.
7. Ask your doctor about medication.
1. If you experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand or wrist.
2. You have pain traveling up your arm to your shoulder.
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More Tips To Prevent Leg Cramps
Try upping your intake of calcium and potassium, low levels of which are linked to cramps. Dr. Rabin suggests taking a calcium pill at night. “Just check with your doctor to make sure it’s okay,” she advises. For potassium, eat bananas or baked potatoes.
“Sometimes cramps are caused by a lack of oxygen in the muscles,” Dr. Rabin says. “Deep breathing can help bring oxygen to the muscles.”
And when all else fails, repeat the mantra “Nothing worthwhile in life is easy.” It worked for me!
Developing Healthy Sleep Habits
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How Is Cts Diagnosed In Pregnancy
CTS is most often diagnosed based on your description of symptoms to your doctor. Your doctor may also conduct a physical exam.
During the physical exam, your doctor may use electrodiagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis, if needed. Electrodiagnostic tests use thin needles or electrodes to record and analyze signals your nerves send and receive. Damage to the median nerve can slow down or block these electrical signals.
Your doctor may also use Tinels sign to identify nerve damage. This test can be done as part of a physical exam, too. During the test, your doctor will lightly tap over the area with the affected nerve. If you feel a tingling sensation, this can indicate nerve damage.
Tinels sign and electrodiagnostic tests are safe for use during pregnancy.
When Its Time To See The Doctor
If these home treatments dont ease your pain in one or two weeks, it might be time to see an orthopaedic physician, who specializes in treatment of bones, joints and muscles.
Your doctor may recommend surgery if theres severe damage to your median nerve or to prevent permanent sensory or functional loss, Dr. Seitz says.
The surgery involves cutting the band of tissue in the wrist that crosses the median nerve to lessen the pressure.
Over time, surgery may be the best route to permanent relief, Dr. Seitz says.
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How Do I Know If I Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Common signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:
- Pain: especially in the wrist, thumb, index finger or middle finger. Pain may worsen when you move your hand or if the weather is particularly hot. Its also more likely to occur at night.
- Numbness: especially in the thumb, index finger or middle finger. A particularly bad case can result in difficulty holding on to or picking things up, and you may feel clumsy.
- Tingling: especially in the thumb, index finger or middle finger. Tingling may worsen when you move your hand or if the weather is particularly hot. Its also more likely to occur at night.
- Weakness: stress on the nerve in the carpal tunnel can cause weakness in the thumb, index finger or palm of your hand.
The intensity of symptoms can vary from mild irritation, to occasional soreness, to serious pain. Symptoms may stop you from sleeping or make it difficult to perform regular tasks such as working, getting dressed, cooking or caring for your baby.
Symptoms can be worsened by:
- repeating the same hand movements frequently
- keeping your hands in the same position for an extended time
- putting weight on straightened arms
When Should I Get Professional Help For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you cant easily shake off numbness, if its severely disrupting your sleep, if youre dropping things, or you cant open jarsor even if you just have questionsits time to get some help, says Growse. If that nerve is compressed long enough and badly enough, the damage can become permanent. Its not common in pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, but if any of the more sever symptoms persist, you might need therapy.
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Preventing Back Pain: What To Do
- Apply heat in the form of a heating pad or a hot water bottle, or soak in a warm tub to soothe muscles.
- Try to keep weight gain within the recommended range .
- Put any high heels and very flat shoes in storage for the next nine months, and instead look for comfy shoes with good arch support. “And get rid of the flip-flops,” Dr. Trupin says. “They have terrible support and are even worse for feet than high heels.”
Physical And Occupational Therapy
An occupational or physical therapist can help in a couple of ways. They may give you exercises to stretch and strengthen your hand and wrist muscles. They can also show you how to change your routine motions in a way that eases stress on your hands and wrists. That can be especially helpful when it comes to tasks related to work or your favorite hobbies.
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