Pregnancy Related Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during pregnancy is fairly common and typically improves after birth. I thought I was in the clear when I didn’t get it during pregnancy. However, I got a pretty bad case of it postpartum. I had never had it before so I wasn’t sure why I was suddenly having complications with my hands. Both of my hands would randomly go numb and it was much worse at night. For the first few months after I delivered, pain radiated up my arms to my shoulders as well. During the night and almost every morning for six months after having my baby, I would wake up with severely numb, tingling, burning hands. I had to vigorously shake my hands and move my fingers to “unthaw” them. During the day my hands would randomly go numb when I drove, brushed my teeth, shaved my legs, opened jars, poured and drank coffee, or did pretty much anything that involved my wrists. It was definitely impacting my daily function. My doctor recommended I take ibuprofen and wear wrist splints. I did and wore the splints at night. Immobilizing my wrists significantly reduced but did not fully relieve the symptoms. The numbness and tingling slowly decreased with time and I was able to stop wearing my wrist splints after six months. Now, at nine months postpartum, I thought I was fully cured. I haven’t had symptoms or related issues in three months. Until…. this weekend when I went paddle boarding. I was so stoked because not only were my husband and I getting out by ourselves, we were doing one of my favorite things, paddle boarding! I haven’t been on my paddle board since I got pregnant. The numbness and tingling in my right hand came back full force while using my paddle. I had to take lots of breaks to relieve the numbness but it was totally worth it. I think I will wear my wrist brace next time though! Having my little man was absolutely worth all the struggles and complications that came along with pregnancy and birth. I can’t wait to get him on the paddle board!

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?: It’s caused by compression of the median nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist. It may be caused by repetitive movements or by fluid retention. During pregnancy you retain extra fluid which can put pressure on the median nerve.

Signs of Carpal Tunnel: Numbness, tingling and pain in your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Usually, your pinkie isn’t affected. A burning sensation was common for me. Pain may also radiate through your wrist and up your arm and shoulder.

Treatment: Treatment typically consists of activity modification, splinting, edema control, steroid injections, or surgery. Consult with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms.

I’m curious if anyone else has acquired Carpal Tunnel Syndrome related to pregnancy. I hope not because it sure is annoying. If so, when, for how long and what did you do about it? Please share!

 

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