Pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in one or both hands are all symptoms of a condition known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). In the wrist there is a narrow passage way or tunnel created by the bones and ligaments on the palm side of the hand. The median nerve, a nerve that supplies sensation and muscle activation to the hand passes through this tunnel. When this nerve is compressed it can cause the above symptoms.[/vc_column_text]
In pregnancy this is more likely to occur than in the general population, in fact it was found that up to 62% of pregnant patients will experience CTS. It is more likely to occur after the 30th week of pregnancy as this is where there is the greatest increase of weight and fluids. During pregnancy your blood volume doubles, this can cause swelling in a number of different places including the hands and wrists. Combine that with associated soft tissue changes during pregnancy and certain repetitive actions such as typing or scrolling on your phone and the median nerve is quite likely to become compressed.
Treatment of The Symptoms
Your Workstation Set Up
You can either buy an over the counter brace that keeps your wrist in neutral or go and get a custom made one from a hand occupational therapist. Wearing it at night may be of significant help to prevent hands balling into fists. However sometimes the compression from the splint can aggravate it so try and see how it is goes
- If you type a lot ensure you have an optimal keyboard – low in height and separate from the laptop if you work off one.
- Position the keyboard near the end of your desk to avoid resting your wrists on the desk.
- If possible keep to a position where your elbows are above your wrists when typing.
- Avoid using wrist rests as they compress the carpal tunnel area.
- If you find that your mousing hand is the one most affected then try a vertical mouse.
- If you need to use equipment see if there are larger formats of the tools you use so that the grip component is reduced.
- It is important to take frequent breaks.