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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnancy

Carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve at a narrow point in the hand. This place is the carpal tunnel, which is formed by the transverse fascia. It contains the tendons of the flexor muscles of the fingers, the median nerve, and blood vessels.

The etiology of pain in the hands during pregnancy comes from hormonal changes and fluid retention in the body of a woman. There is compression of the nerve, which intensifies at night.

When Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Start in Pregnancy?

The appearance of tunnel syndrome during pregnancy is typical for the end of the second trimester. During this period, fluid stagnation in the tissues is most formed. There is a strong compression of the nerves and tendons, causing persistent tingling pain. The syndrome may also appear in the first trimester. This will depend on the accompanying symptom in the form of edema.

EXACT WEEKS IT MAY HAPPENĀ 

Tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands appear at the 25th-26th week of pregnancy. The duration of pain will depend on the woman, her lifestyle, and her health status.

Sometimes the syndrome may appear before the second trimester at the 14th week. This often occurs in multiple pregnancies or overweight women.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pregnancy weeks

When will it end?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be short-lived or lingering. Sometimes it goes away after a couple of weeks and disappears after the 28th week of pregnancy. Its episodic manifestation most often torments a woman until the end of the gestation period and disappears without a trace after childbirth. The end of the symptom occurs after the 39th-40th week.

How Does it Feel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is expressed in pains of a different nature: pulling, tingling, throbbing, and dullness. A woman in position feels numbness of her hands, their weakness, and soreness during movements. The pain can be aching and very long. The symptom manifests itself in an acute and mild forms. The severity of pain will depend on the state of health of the pregnant woman.

Acute

This form of carpal tunnel syndrome manifests itself in strong sensations of unbearable pain in the fingers, passing to the forearm and even the shoulder. Dull or sharp pain wakes a woman in the middle of the night. There is a weakness of the hands, disobedience of the fingers, and severe numbness.

Mild

Carpal tunnel syndrome is mild and transient. It is felt as a pulsating weak pain that aggravates with any manipulation of the hand. The pain syndrome disappears after a period of rest. Numbness is not observed.

Try not to load your hands during the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Prevention methods

It is necessary to prevent the causes of the symptom as much as possible to reduce pain in the carpal tunnel during pregnancy. The main one is swelling. Try to do everything to reduce the tendency to edema. This will relieve excess pressure on the median nerve and blood vessels. Consider ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:

Drinking regimen

Keep track of the amount of fluid you drink per day. It must be appropriate for your weight and age. Increase the amount of pure water drunk during the hot period and at the beginning of pregnancy. Drink in small sips evenly distributing water until 18:00. Do not over-drink before bed.

Gymnastics of the hands

This method of prevention is useful for those who work at a computer, in assembly line production, or with fine motor tasks. It is necessary to take breaks at work for gymnastics. Knead and massage your hands. Do small stretches of the shoulder joint and fingers. Gymnastics improves blood flow and increases the elasticity of ligaments and muscle tone.

Healthy diet

Limit the use of salt, coffee, strong tea, sugary drinks, and fatty foods. It is necessary to remove from the diet everything that provokes fluid stagnation. Eat more foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium. These are legumes, nuts, avocados, eggs, quality meat, bananas, and fish.

Why Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Occurs in Pregnancy?

Hormonal changes in a woman’s body during the gestation period provoke fluid stagnation. This puts extra pressure on the narrow carpal tunnel. The median nerve is severely compressed, which causes acute pain in the hand. The upper limbs become numb and sometimes swell. Pain may spread above the hand if the situation is difficult.

Most of the fluid in the tissues accumulates in the second half of the day. The symptom worries a woman in the evening and at night. Tingling in the hands in the morning occurs when the position is incorrect during sleep and the use of large amounts of liquid in the evening. Pain in carpal tunnel syndrome increases if a woman suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and hypothyroidism.

Remedies

All measures must be taken to avoid compression and pressure on the hand to eliminate pain in the carpal tunnel. Consider changing activities or going on maternity leave early. At risk are people whose profession requires constant work at the computer. Try to choose the right, ergonomic furniture and a pillow under your arm in this case. Remedy options for wrist pain:

Painkillers

It is worth trying topical anesthetic ointments. Sometimes they stop not strong aching and tingling pain. The doctor may prescribe an injection that is done directly into the tunnel with a more acute symptom. This is a cardinal measure for pain relief. It is used for acute, unbearable constant pain in the wrist.

Wrist splint or brace

These remedies are used for severe symptoms. A splint or brace fixes the hand in a neutral position, reducing pressure and mechanical impact on the hand. It remains extended, which slightly expands the carpal tunnel. This method stabilizes the situation by easing the painful syndrome.

Exercise and massage

The easiest way to get rid of wrist pain is to shake. This method must be practiced constantly. It eliminates the stagnation of fluid, relaxes muscles, and removes spasms. You need to perform the exercise carefully. You can make circular movements, squeezing and unclenching your fingers. Hand massage can help relieve numbness and reduce the tingling sensation in the fingers and hands.

WHEN TO CONTACT A DOCTOR?

It is better to consult a doctor with an acute manifestation of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, if the pain persists for a long time, intensifies every day, and does not allow to exist in peace. Be sure to visit a highly specialized specialist if you feel severe numbness or pain in the forearm and shoulder. A serious signal of a severe course of the syndrome may be swelling of the hand and loss of working capacity.

What Not to Do

Timely medical assistance can eliminate the symptom in time. Do not delay a visit to the doctor if the pain is very strong. It is necessary to find out the reason for this phenomenon. Do not immediately resort to cardinal methods of treatment. Start with more conservative methods for getting rid of tingling in your hands. Consider what exactly should not be done with carpal tunnel syndrome:

Load hands

Do not lift heavy, avoid twisting, squeezing, or stretching. Protect your hands from injury and long-term performance of the same type of tasks.

Acupuncture

This is a controversial and questionable method of dealing with wrist pain with no proven positive effect. Choose more conservative and proven methods.

Ignore severe pain

Treatment not provided on time can lead to serious complications: muscle atrophy and weakness, nerve damage, and dysfunction of the hand.

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