The first time you heard about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was probably a long time ago. Most well-known to be suffered by hairdressers and typists it’s often complained about by people who are deeply committed to typing reports or chatting on Facebook. But it’s also common for pregnant women and new mums. Here’s our quick guide to symptoms and Carpal Tunnel treatment.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The most common manifestation of CTS is the sensation of tingling as well as numbness in the fingers, hands and wrists. The good news is that the symptoms can be alleviated with proper treatment, focusing on the relief of the discomforting sensation as well as the restoration of the fingers, wrist and hand movements. As always, it is essential to seek a doctor’s advice before taking any drug or initiating any physical or occupational treatment.
Why does it happen?
Many pregnant women [up to about 60 percent of mums] experience swelling and fluid retention, usually in the first and second trimester, and this can increase the pressure in the relatively narrow and inflexible space of the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This pressure compresses the median nerve, which controls feeling and movement in your hand, that runs through the canal formed by the wrist bones.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are:
- Tingling and numbness in your fingers and sometimes your whole hand
- Occasional dull pain in your hand, forearm and upper arm
- Shooting or radiating pain up to the arms
- Weakness of grip and/or clumsiness of the hand and wrist
- A tendency for symptoms to worsen at night
Is there a way to relieve the problem?
Depending on the severity of the pain simply resting your wrist in a neutral position could help alleviate any discomfort. Resting them on pillows, for example, could help with this. Sometimes shaking your hands until the tingling subsides is helpful and also flexing your hand and wrist throughout the day may prevent ongoing pain. Other remedies such as yoga, acupuncture, aromatherapy and reflexology may also be useful. If the pain persists, discuss it with your GP or healthcare provider. Cortisone injections may be prescribed to relieve the pain (they’re safe for breastfeeding mums) or wearing a wrist splint, a treatment that has proved useful to many with carpal tunnel syndrome. If all else fails, minor surgery may be suggested but often CTS resolves, slowly on its own after the baby is born.