Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you are experiencing tingling or numbness in your hands during pregnancy, you might be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Pregnancy is the most wonderful phase of a woman’s life but it does make everything uncomfortable; even the most basic activities of your life become difficult. And, if you thought sleeping and breathing complete the list, make way for one more addition – carpal tunnel syndrome. But why does pregnancy make you prone to this painful syndrome and how can you cope with it?
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and why is it more common during pregnancy?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition in which the median nerve of your wrist gets compressed, causing pain in your arm and hand. The median nerve runs from your neck and passes to your shoulders to reach your fingers through a narrow passage called the carpal tunnel which is located in your wrist. Since the carpal tunnel comprises tiny carpal bones and ligament, any crushing or squeezing of the median nerve can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome.
While this condition is common in people who type for long hours or in people who need to make repetitive hand movements at work, it is more likely to affect pregnant women due to fluid retention. In the second and the third trimester, the excess fluid floating around the body tends to exert extra pressure on the carpal tunnel. The increased pressure of the fluid compresses the median nerve resulting in painful symptoms.
Common symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can shoot up at any time during pregnancy but the pain tends to worsen during the second and third trimester. The following symptoms may vary and can affect either or both your hands:
Tingling sensation and frequent numbness in the hand
Throbbing pain in the neck and shoulders
Swelling in wrists and fingers
Burning sensation in the arms
Difficulty in performing tasks that need dexterous hands
Pain in the wrists and fingers that tends to worsen at night
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor to avoid complications.
Helpful tips to ease the CTS pain during pregnancy
Wear copper compression gloves
Copper infused compression gloves are designed to provide mild compression that boosts blood circulation and alleviates pain while allowing a full range of motion. Copper compression gloves are also available as snug fingerless gloves that allow you to perform all your daily activities with absolute ease and comfort.
Avoid straining your wrists
Try and avoid or at least limit repeated wrist movements and this includes typing.
Keep an eye on your diet
Try to eat a balanced diet so your weight gain is healthy. For this you may need to cut back on sugar, salt and fat. Eat at least 5 small meals that contain fruits and veggies every day and drink a lot of water.
Use cold therapy
Place your hands in ice-cold water for relief or apply an ice-pack to the affected area.
Perform gentle exercises
These 3 carpal tunnel exercises will alleviate your pain to a great extent:
1. Bend your wrist forward and backward while keeping all your fingers straight for ten times.
2. Form a tight fist and then extend all your fingers at once. Repeat this exercise ten times.
3. Touch each and every finger using your thumb and try to form the ‘O’ shape.
Consider physical therapy
CTS-related pain can be greatly eased by undergoing Myofascial release therapy. This is a type of massage that not only alleviates the pain but also improves mobility by reducing the rigidity and shortness in muscles and ligaments.
Consult your doctor
Check with your doctor if the pain and discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome are persistent and also disturbing your sleep. Prompt medical attention will provide relief from the condition and also help avoid any further complications.