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How Do I Treat Carpal Tunnel during Pregnancy?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated Feb 24, 2024
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One of the many aches and pains that can occur with pregnancy is carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is the problem typically disappears shortly after delivery of the baby, and there are various treatments that can be used in the meantime to ease symptoms. One of the least invasive treatments for carpal tunnel pain is stretching, because flexing the fingers and wrists throughout the day can relieve some of the pressure on the median nerve. The wrists are usually inflamed and in pain when carpal tunnel strikes, so applying a cold compress to the area and taking acetaminophen in moderation is often advised. Another popular treatment for carpal tunnel during pregnancy is to use splints so the wrists cannot be positioned in a way that irritates the nerves.

Though carpal tunnel during pregnancy is usually caused by fluid retention, making repetitive motions with the hands can make the issue worse. Therefore, stretching the fingers, hands and wrists is often an effective way to get rid of carpal tunnel pain. The hands and fingers should be flexed backward and then extended toward the ceiling. Wiggling the fingers and rolling the wrists often helps, as well. Some patients do yoga to increase their hand strength, which can help prevent them from putting their hands and wrists in positions that result in irritation.

Reducing inflammation is an important part of treating carpal tunnel during pregnancy. One of the best methods is applying a cold compress to the wrists for about 10 minutes at a time. You can use a gel ice pack or just wrap ice cubes in a hand towel and then place the cold compress on the inside of the wrists a few times a day. Another remedy for carpal tunnel during pregnancy is to use acetaminophen for pain relief. This is considered safe to use during pregnancy, but this treatment should only be used in moderation, so contact your doctor if you feel the need to constantly use acetaminophen to control the pain.

Using braces to immobilize the wrists is one way to ensure that you do not put your wrists in positions that worsen carpal tunnel syndrome. If you cannot wear a brace during the day because a job requires unrestricted hand movement, you can at least wear it at night. This is especially useful in preventing a worsening of the condition via an odd sleeping position. A brace can also prevent you from sleeping on your hands, a tendency that can make carpal tunnel during pregnancy more severe.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By AmberLianne — On Jan 21, 2014

There is a great wrap called BFST (blood flow stimulation therapy) that my co-worker uses during these couple months of her pregnancy. She said it has helped immensely.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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