Carpal tunnel in pregnancy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Need some help/advice. I am 36 1/2 weeks pregnant and having carpal tunnel issues. History: this is my 2nd pg. With my 1st preg, I developed pre-eclampsia and had already a significant amount of swelling by the 33rd week. By the end (actually, by this point in my pregnancy last time), I could not use my hands at all, couldn't hold a pen, had severe pain in my hand joints, and whenever I would lay down to rest/sleep, my entire hands/arms to the shoulder would burn and go numb. I had to sleep sitting up on the couch and I would literally cry, it was so painful. I do not expect it to get so severe this time, because things are much different this time. I am following a high protein diet (Brewer), have had no signs of pre/eclampsia yet and don't expect to, and have made it to almost 37 weeks without a problem. And in the last month I have only gained 2 lbs so I am pretty sure I am not packing on fluid like last time (I gained almost 40 lbs and lost 34 !!! in the first week - all water imagine that ).

Anywhoo, what I have now is a numb right hand when typing, holding phone or using hairbrush (I am right handed). Also right arm going numb at night if I am lying on it which is inevitable because I cannot lay on my left side all night and/or on my back because my belly is huge/it is uncomfy - and sleeping upright not an option as have night duties of toddler (who incidentally likes to help make my arm numb by resting his head in the crook of my arm when sleeping LOL)

I feel it will get worse, all tho not much worse, but last night I had to keep waking up and shaking out my arm it is quite annoying and interrupting my sleep.

Does anybody have any herbal or natural remedies, any ideas/help/suggestions ? I will call my m/w today but last time I used OB's who were useless. I know I can try the wrist splints and they will probably help but its the whole arm numbness at night that is annoying.

I don't have carpal tunnel when I am not pregnant.

Thanks SOOOO Much for any advice.
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#2 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 09:59 AM
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Before you take or do anything, make sure it is really carpal tunnel. Could this be an overuse injury or maybe a different nerve issue? Soft tissue problems in the arms get misdiagnosed all the time, as far as I have seen from research of my own problem. I have problems with my arms and wrists (from working at the computer) but after visits to an orthopedic surgeon (no surgery, though), physiatrist, and physical therapy, I found out that it was muscle and tendon inflammation caused by weak back and shoulder muscles, NOT carpal tunnel. I needed to loosen up and strengthen my back and shoulders. Wrists splints are not always that helpful. Massage was helpful though. The remedy that helped me with the inflammation symptoms was a combo of turmeric, ginger, B6 and bromelain. I'm not at all sure these are safe during pregnancy, esp. ginger. The resources I used were and a discussion group called "Sorehand."

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#3 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 10:48 AM
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Hi Zombiemommie:

I'm in a similar situation. With my first pg I developed cts in both arms at about 36 wks and didn't know what it was. I'd wake up with numb hands, then it progressed to a shooting pain or numbness all the way up my arm. I couldn't brush my hair in the morning, etc. I never knew you could get it during pg, so I was clueless. It got really bad and my mom said, just try these splints . . . So I did and the difference was amazing. If I slept with them the pain and numbness was hardly noticable, although it did take a few days for it to get better. After the baby was born I only had a little numbness for a day or so, then it was all gone. It seems that the pain in my arm was only the progression of the cts getting worse and treating with the splints worked great.

This time . . . I'm due in 5 days and have been having a little numbness only in my right hand during the night. I too have maintained a MUCH better diet this time and know that it's all related. If I wear the splint to bed it's not an issue at all and I feel fine in the morning. If not, it definitely gets numb and doing anything with my hand in for the first hours of the day is a nightmare.

So, while I know the splints are a pain and annoying to wear, they help so much, especially if you can get away with only wearing them to bed. My previous mw recommended parrifin treatments, but they only help during a flare-up and not long-term. The splints seem to be instantenous.

I hope that helps and that your pain subsides. Good luck!

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#4 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 11:56 AM
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Sorry to hear that you are going through this. With my 1st, I also developed ct due to my pregnancy at about 30 wks. I was also working as a massge therapist at the time, so that didn't help matters at all. I did finally go see an occupational therapist, who did make a special brace for me (I had it in both hands). This helped so much, much better for me than the braces in the stores. I also continued to receive massage to help drain the fluid in my hands/wrists. At night, I used ice to help relieve the pain. It did go away after he was born too. Right now I'm 26 wks. pregnant and am not working as a massage therapist currently. I'm really hoping that I won't get it this time (its so painful).

Good Luck~


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#5 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 12:43 PM
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i have this this round too. My friend who is pregnant also has it. mine comes and goes.

Try to soak it in warm water, put heating pads on it. Try not to do repeating motion...use computer mouse with other hand for a while etc.

Good luck.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-13-2003, 04:47 PM
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I have had carpal tunnel since Sept 2001(not due to pregnancy) and have done a LOT to try to help it... (althought I still have issues, I have had progress). First off, do you have pain in your pinky/ring finger and that side of your arm too? I'm not sure if this happens in pregnancy, but if so, thats your ulnar nerve in your elbow (where you'd smack your funny bone) and working with *both* improving the carpal tunnel and the ulnar nerve (I believe there is a 'tunnel' there as well) has done a world of good for me (no doctors will agree I have a problem with that nerve but I do)... but for now I'll assume its *just* carpal tunnel and if you reply and say yes its those fingers/side of hands too I have a couple more recommendations...

First, the splints really do help at night. And having ones custom made for you by a therapist fit 10 times better than a store bought ones. When you sleep (well when I sleep) you tend to curl your hands, pincing the nerve in your wrist and making numbness happen.

Paraffin also helps a lot, but it is only temporary (but gives for me, a lot of relief). I also did contrast baths, one cold, one hot, you put one hand in the cold for 20 seconds, then hot, back and forth... helped me out, although I don't know exactly the reasoning behind it.

Try to limit repeative motions (as I type you a book), like only type for 10 minutes at a time, take a break cooking or folding laundry, even if its only 30 seconds to a minute to let your hands straighten out and relax. This has helped me tremedously. I used to be in so much pain (when I was typing 8-10 hours a day) I simply could NOT use my hands. Now I can't go back to work, and can't do things as quickly, but at least the pain isn't all encompasing (at least not all the time)...

Heat helped me out the best. Wet heat. Even taking a hot bath was wonderful (although since you're pregnant, just soaking them in hot water might be more helpful).

If you're insurance will cover it, a physical therapist can help out so much! They do massages, the paraffin, help you learn some light exercises to do and help out with others things you can do at home to decrease the symptoms.

Hope this helps, and I hope you don't have it as badly as your first! And like I said, if you have the symptoms that are related to the ulnar nerve, I have a few more suggestions I could offer. Just let me know

Lisa, mama to Orion (7) , Fiona Star (born sleeping @ 38wks 12/6/08) , our bitty (m/c 7/27/09) , and Charlotte Athena (11/5/10)
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