Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. During pregnancy, fluid retention can facilitate that nerve compression, making this a fairly common pregnancy complaint. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in the fingers and thumbs, or the hand in general.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be quite frustrating for sufferers, as it can interfere with everyday tasks, such as typing, or gripping small objects. For those who experience significant pain or discomfort, it can make sleeping difficult. For our clients who complain of carpal tunnel syndrome, we suggest:
- Minimizing activities that aggravate the condition, such as repetitive motions (typing for long periods, etc.)
- Keep hands in motion during walks, as opposed to just hanging them by your sides, to prevent swelling
- Wear a carpal tunnel wrist brace, especially at night, to help ease symptoms – these can be purchased at a pharmacy or online
- Do hand exercises and yoga
- Acupuncture or chiropractic care might help
- For severe cases, you may need to see a physician to talk about medical management
Thankfully, for most people, carpal tunnel syndrome resolves within a few weeks after their baby is born. If you continue to experience symptoms after the end of your postpartum period, contact your primary care physician to discuss a treatment plan.