- What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy?
- How to Ease the Pain in Case of CST?
- In What Cases You Need to Call Your Doctor?
Pregnancy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You notice that prickling and numbness in your hands often occur (or do not disappear) during the course of pregnancy? Most likely, this sensations are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). As a rule, exactly those people whose job is connected with the repeated hands actions suffer from this illness (for example, computer programmers or conveyor workers). However, pregnant women are also very often inclined to having the illness.
The symptoms of a carpal tunnel syndrome may include numbness, prickling, pain or dull pain in fingers hands or wrists. This symptoms, as a rule, occur and, then, disappear for some time. They get worse during the nighttime period. Therefore you start have troubles with sleeping. Sometimes, the discomfort caused by the syndrome may spread to the forearm, the area of a shoulder or even the whole arm! In serious or chronic cases of the illness, an arm may become “clumsy” and weak. The patients often complain that the fingers unclench on their own.
The symptoms may occur on one or both hands. They may occur at any time but it is most likely that they will occur during the second half of the pregnancy period when the majority of women starts having legs swelling. Usually, the symptoms of CTS start to gradually disappear after the labor as does the swelling.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome During Pregnancy?
The wrists are bone channels the tree sides of which are formed by the wrist bones and a junction that goes through the wrist. In case of pregnant women, the swelling and the liquid that is prevented from leaving the system increase the pressure in this rather narrow and inflexible area. Consequently, the median nerve that goes through the wrist gets squeezed.
The median nerve sends nerve impulses to the thumbs, index, middle and ring fingers. It is also responsible for the movements of muscles at the base of the thumbs. The pressure on this nerve causes the symptoms of CST.
How to Ease the Pain in Case of CST?
Try defining what movements cause (or sharpen) your syndrome and avoid these activities. Sometimes, you may change the way you do things during the day in order to protect your hands. For example, if you are working on computer, adjust the height of the chair so that your wrist are lying on the table and not just hanging in the air. You may but an ergonomic keyboard. This type of keyboard is very helpful for people who have CST. You should necessarily make short breaks so that to move your hands and stretch them.
If the symptoms disturb you during the nighttime, try fixating a wrist in a neutral position (so that it wasn’t bent). In order to do it you may use an elastic band. Avoid sleeping on your hands. If you wake up during the night because of pain, try clenching and unclenching your fingers until the pain or the numbness doesn’t go away.
In What Cases You Need to Call Your Doctor?
Consult your doctor if pain and numbness are constantly bothering you. If they do not let you sleep normally or do things you usually do. Do not start taking any painkillers if you haven’t previously consulted your doctor! Instead of pills, your doctor may suggest you wearing an elastic band on the wrist or the lower part of the arm. This is the treatment that has helped a lot of people with CST. If symptoms are constantly occurring and they are rather serious (a constant numbness, muscle weakness and loss of sensibility) then you will be referred to a professional.
In the majority of cases, CST disappears on its own, several months after the labor. If the symptoms do not go away 3-4 months after the baby is born, you need to go to an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon is most likely to recommend you splinting and taking NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), for example, ibuprofen.
If there is no positive result from using conservative means of treatment CST, next step is a course of cortisone injections. In very serious cases, a simple surgical interference may be required. This way the pressure on the median nerve will be decreased.