CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers and it is a result of pressure on the nerve in the wrist.
CAUSES OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME IN PREGNANCY
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve gets compressed near your wrist. Swelling in pregnancy puts pressure on the median nerve in the wrist and causes aching and tingling symptoms. During pregnancy, they may be less movement which means circulation to the hand and other extremities is reduced.
RISK FACTORS OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
People at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Women: Women are three times more likely than men to get it. This might be because they tend to have smaller carpal tunnels.
- Family: If you have a family member with small carpal tunnels you might likely have it.
- Job: If you have a job in which you make the same motions with your arm, hand, or wrists over and over, such as an assembly line worker, sewer or knitter, baker, cashier, hairstylist, or musician they are likely at risk of having carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Fracture or dislocated wrist.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- pins and needles – often in the index and middle fingers.
- numbness – often in the index and middle fingers.
- pain in the fingers and thumbs.
- burning sensation in the fingers.
- weakness of the muscles that control the thumb, which can affect your grip strength.
The symptoms affect both hands and one hand of an individual may be painful than the other and the pain is common at night.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS
The doctor may tap the palm side of the wrist, it is a test called Tinel sign, or fully flex the wrist with the arms extended. Other test includes:
- Imaging tests. X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI
- Nerve conduction studies.
TREATMENT OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME IN PREGNANCY
- When resting, rest your hands and wrists on a pillow or cushion. Make sure it is placed higher than your heart.
- Do not sleep on the side of your painful hand. Wearing a splint at night helps keep your wrist in a comfortable position.
- Running cold water over your wrist before bed may help reduce swelling in the wrist.
- Do gentle arm and wrist exercises every day.
- adjusting your position during labor and other tasks
- Avoiding repetitive tasks.
- Doctors may give medication like anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid shots to curb swelling.
- Surgery is done if none of the treatments works, an operation called carpal tunnel release that increases the size of the tunnel and eases the pressure on your nerve.
COMPLICATION OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME IN PREGNANCY
- A complication of carpal tunnel syndrome is uncommon but includes atrophy and weakness of the muscles at the base of the thumb in the palm of the hand. This can be a permanent complication if not corrected early enough.
- It can lead to a lack of dexterity of the affected fingers.
PROGNOSIS FOR CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
The outlook is generally excellent as carpal tunnel syndrome usually responds to the treatment and remedies. Sometimes a surgical operation is done.
PREVENTION OF CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Nearly all women experience swelling that may likely cause carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms in the last trimester of pregnancy. There are steps to take if worried about the risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome while pregnant and it includes:
- Try to minimize time spent doing intensive manual tasks such as typing, sewing, or knitting,
- Take breaks to move around and stretch.
THINGS THAT HELP CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME DURING PREGNANCY.
- Try a wrist brace. If your carpal tunnel is causing you a lot of pain, ask your doctor to recommend a wrist brace and must be worn day and night.
- Stretch. If you work at a computer or do any other activity that requires repetitive motions, like playing the piano or filing, take frequent hand-stretching breaks to relieve pain and tingling.
- Get into position. If you spend a lot of time at a computer typing, type gently and make sure your wrists are straight and your elbows are higher than your hands
- Sleep freely. Don’t constrict your limbs at night. Try not to sleep on your hands, and use a pillow to prop up your arms at night.
- Get the blood flowing. Shake your hands and wrists out frequently. At night, hang your hand over the side of the bed and shake it.
- Limit salt. Reducing your sodium and salt intake can decrease swelling and water retention, both of which exacerbate carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Medication. Ask your doctor whether the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or steroids typically prescribed for carpal tunnel are safe to take during pregnancy.