Topic: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy.
Doc, I am 21 weeks pregnant and I feel this numbness in my fingers. So often sometimes it’s so numb I have to go put my hands under hot running water. What do I do?
Introduction: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition that affects women, especially during pregnancy. This is characterized by painful hand and arm condition, which is caused by compression of a nerve in your wrist.
During pregnancy, this syndrome be more likely and common, because of all the extra fluid that is produced and retained which can put pressure on that nerve in the wrist. Generally, about 3 percent of all women will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their life.
This syndrome happens because, during pregnancy the blood volume increases by as much as 50 percent to adequately supply the womb, placenta and baby. This extra fluid can compress the median nerve, an important nerve that runs through the wrist. When this compression, happens, it hurts really bad. This syndrome can also be caused by repetitive wrist movements such as typing or knitting.
Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome?
This can include the following:
1. Numbness in the fingers
2. Tingling in the fingers
3. Pain on the palm side of your index, middle and ring fingers.
4. Usually, the little pinkie finger isn’t affected.
5. Radiating pain from the wrist to the arm.
Tests for carpal tunnel syndrome
This condition is normally diagnosed based on the patient’s history and a physical exam by the doctor.
Normally, no additional testing is required, however the following could be conducted:
• An X-ray,
• A muscle study
• A nerve conduction study.
Management of Carpal tunnel syndrome
• This best corrective treatment is surgery, however, since most cases of pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome resolve themselves after birth (yay!), surgery isn’t necessary (or recommended) in pregnancy.
• Less invasive non-surgical treatment like wearing a wrist splint ( an over-the-counter wrist device ,you can easily buy at the pharmacy. This helps to immobilize the wrist joint while you are sleeping.
• Tylenol and ice ease the pain.
• Changing or avoiding activities that may be causing symptoms, and taking frequent breaks from repetitive tasks.
• Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hand and arm.