Dealing with Carpal Tunnel While Pregnant

Oh No, Carpal Tunnel!

I see women dealing with carpal tunnel while pregnant every single day. In fact, I’d say the majority women who I speak complaining about carpal tunnel are pregnant. And they all ask the same question; “How do I deal with this without taking drugs?”

A True Female Disorder

First and foremost carpal tunnel syndrome can happen to anybody. But pregnant women are particularly at risk. In fact, many scientists and doctors are beginning to believe that carpal tunnel is real women’s disorder. How can that be?

Manual labor and repetitive hand stress can bring on carpal tunnel if you’re predisposed to getting it. Now, adjust for females NOT doing the vast majority of the workforce’s manual labor (“blue collar” work). Then the statistics show carpal tunnel syndrome is nearly 30 times more prevalent than in males.

When it comes to pregnancy, carpal tunnel occurs in about 62% of pregnant women. Usually it happens in the third trimester. So if you’re pregnant and have finger or hand numbness, pain, tingling, soreness or puffiness, you can almost bet its carpal tunnel syndrome.

Pregnant women dealing with carpal tunnel usually see symptoms starting with tingly fingers, especially the thumb. (Your little finger is never affected.) Then they might have to wake up at night to shake out their hands to relieve the tingling or numbness. This nocturnal disturbance happens in over 80% of carpal tunnel cases.

Why Carpal Tunnel Happens During Pregnancy

Normally, carpal tunnel syndrome happens because tendons are under stress. Usually it’s repetitive stress, like making constant grip-and-release motions. That causes them to become irritated. As a result they swell with fluid. All this happens in a tight passageway deep inside the wrist joint known as the “carpal tunnel”. Hence the name of the condition.

Carpal tunnel syndrome appears during pregnancy due to one main reason: extra fluid buildup. Many pregnant women have swollen joints, especially the ankles. But more fluid inside the wrist causes additional pressure in the carpal tunnel passageway. This is bad for the poor median nerve buried deep inside. The fluid pressure crushes it. And that’s what gives you all the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Will You Get Carpal Tunnel?

Family history is the best way to predict if you’ll come down with carpal tunnel syndrome. If your mother had it when pregnant, then look out! Chances are very high you’ll get it, too.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Within a few months after delivery, about 50% of women will have their symptoms dissolve away on their own. Another 25% will have symptoms disappear by 12 months. Unfortunately, the other 25% will never have symptoms disappear on their own.

Non-Drug Treatments

You should never take unnecessary medicines when you’re pregnant, especially pain drugs. In fact, you shouldn’t do anything that may harm the fetus. That means carpal tunnel surgery is not the answer, either. Then what is?
Three non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical treatments are quite effective for dealing with carpal tunnel while pregnant. The common feature in all of them is they help drain excess fluid from the carpal tunnel passageway. That’s the only certain way you can relieve symptoms for good.

The following are 3 key techniques to treat carpal tunnel syndrome:

Hand & finger stretching exercises:
There are hundreds of websites showing you how to perform carpal tunnel exercises. Most are fine exercises. But they generally take a long time to perform, which is something most people don’t like committing to. To save time and maximize the exercise’s benefits, I’ve developed a quick & effective exercise program that takes only 60 seconds. The exercises help pump fluid from your wrist joint and promote blood flow in the area.

Myofascial release massage:
This powerful type of massage is used by therapists to combat carpal tunnel syndrome. You can’t perform myofascial release massage on yourself because two hands are required. So a partner (with a bit of training) is needed. This highly effective technique must be done at least once daily on your wrist and forearm. The good news is that in most cases, it resolves carpal tunnel syndrome completely within about 30 days.

Night bracing:
While you sleep it’s very helpful to wear a night brace on your wrist. This keeps your wrist joint from unconsciously over-bending. An over-bent wrist can increase pressure inside the joint, and further compress the median nerve. Moreover, you should never wear a brace that has a metallic spine on the palm side of the brace. If you do, then bending your hand backward will push the spine inward on your wrist. That adds to the pressure inside the wrist joint and your symptoms will be worse in the morning.

Also, never wear a wrist brace while working during the day. Instead, just let your hand go free. Bracing it will make your hand fight the brace, and that will further strain your tendons. Besides, wrist movement is the only way the body can naturally drain excess fluid from the joint.

For Severe Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

If you’re dealing with severe carpal tunnel symptoms during your pregnancy, then you need more aggressive treatment. Essentially, you should do the treatments outlined above, but be more aggressive.

For instance, increase the frequency of your stretching exercises. Doing them hourly (or even more frequently) is recommended. It’s important to understand that the time it takes to do the exercises (say, one minute versus five minutes) is not as essential as how frequently you do them.

Myofascial release massage is extremely important for severe symptoms. Increase the massage regimen to twice daily treatments to see good results. It might take 4-6 weeks to see symptoms resolve, but they will.

Night bracing is still extremely important for severe symptoms. Brace your wrist as described above. And avoid the temptation to wear a wrist brace during the day. Once again, be sure there’s no palmar spine in the brace.

Author's Bio: 

Author’s Bio:

Dr. Z (Maik Zannakis, Ph.D.) has been researching methods to repair soft tissue injuries for over 40 years. An expert in the nervous system, Dr.Z has authored hundreds of medical journal publications, dozens of international patents, and hundreds of internet articles all dealing with techniques to heal soft tissues.

The Carpal Rx is Dr. Z’s most recognized invention. It is an automatic myofascial release device that relieves carpal tunnel syndrome in 907% of patients. Moreover, it’s helped thousands eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome without the need of surgery.