Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a compression of the median nerve. This nerve passes through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel, and ends in your hand. It controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and the movement of all your fingers except the little finger.
- Burning, tingling, or itching numbness in your palm and thumb or your index and middle fingers
- Weakness in your hand and trouble holding things
- Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
- Tingling that moves up into your arm
During pregnancy the body holds more fluid which often causes swelling (oedema) of the hands and feet. Due to this increase in fluid some women experience compression of the nerves of the wrist resulting in CTS. This is a common condition during pregnancy and symptoms can vary from mild to severe in one or both hands. 60% of pregnant women experience CTS symptoms. The good news is that usually symptoms resolve after delivery when fluid retention is resolved. If not, contact your physiotherapist or GP.
- Rest: Avoid overusing your hand and rest your hand on a pillow when you can.
- Ice: Either use an ice pack on the area of pain or place your hands/wristsi n cold water for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively you can do hot/cold therapy (contrast baths), i.e. an ice pack and then a hot water bottle.
- Elevation: Keep your hand elevated when resting and overnight to reduce swelling.
- Sleeping position: Avoid sleeping on your affected side if the condition only affects one hand.
- Wrist Splint: These are available from local pharmacies and should be worn when you are resting, particularly overnight.
- Exercise: This helps to improve circulation and decrease swelling. See Video above for Carpal Tunnel Exercises.
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