The Link Between Pregnancy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pregnancy is a joyous time in your life, and there's so much to look forward to. Your body goes through so many changes as your baby grows over the months. However, you probably weren't expecting hand and wrist pain, which could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome.

At Mehling Orthopedics, our team helps you figure out if carpal tunnel syndrome is the culprit behind your pain. If so, Dr. Brian Mehling or Dr. Pavel Yufit provide the treatment you need to calm the pain so you can enjoy your pregnancy.

Carpal tunnel syndrome defined

Your carpal tunnel is a narrow tunnel in your wrist that houses a large nerve known as your median nerve. Your flexor tendons also run through this canal. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the carpal tunnel begins to narrow, which can put pressure on your median nerve, causing pain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an overuse injury which means activities that require repetitive motions put you at higher risk. You could also develop this disorder after an injury to your wrist, such as a fracture or sprain. 

You could also be at a higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome if you’re dealing with any of the following:

These are just a few of the risk factors for this disorder. Activities that require you to constantly flex your wrist, such as typing, also can lead to this disorder. Pregnancy is a less-known culprit behind carpal tunnel syndrome, but leads to just as much discomfort as the other causes.

Are carpal tunnel syndrome and pregnancy linked?

Carpal tunnel syndrome and pregnancy are linked, and this connection has to do with your hormones. During pregnancy, hormonal changes and weight gain can lead to swelling all over your body. 

This swelling can affect your wrists, putting pressure on your median nerves and tendons. That continuous pressure over the course of your pregnancy can either make your existing carpal tunnel worse or create the disorder for the first time.

When to get orthopedic help

So how do you know if your pain is just a nuisance of pregnancy or carpal tunnel syndrome? Certain symptoms may indicate that carpal tunnel syndrome is the culprit, including:

You may experience numbness and tingling in your hand or fingers at night, making it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep. One or both of your hands may be affected. 

Treatment is usually conservative in nature. Our doctors may recommend splinting your wrists at night to help keep pressure off the nerve. They may also have you try ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications that your OB/GYN approves.

If you’re pregnant and showing signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, call our office in Hackensack, New York, to make an appointment.

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