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Hand & Wrist Pain During Pregnancy
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Hand & Wrist Pain During Pregnancy
I am in my 17th week of my first pregnancy and have suffered
through constipation, round ligament pain and now
congestion/allergies and headaches. BUT, the one things that
drives me more crazy than any other thing is the numbness,
tingling and pain that I feel in my hands/fingers/wrists
througout the day (mostly in the morning). Has anyone else
experienced this? I know it has something to do with carpal
tunnel syndrome, but I haven't really been swollen (my rings
still fit). It's driving me crazy! It wakes me up in the
middle of my sleep and I have to get up and start shaking
them ''loose''. Can anyone give me advice on how they handled
their hand numbness/pain? Thank you so much!!
It could be carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition, due to
pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, is a common
occurrence in pregnancy, and usually resolves with the end of
the pregnancy. Occasionally, it becomes severe enough to
warrant surgery (relatively simple), but most of the time,
completion of the pregnancy is what is necessary.
There are, however, tests that are valuable in determining the
severity and the risk of nerve damage. I would ask for a
consultation with a neurologist or neurosurgeon
Numbness and pain in hands during pregnancy is completely normal. The cure:
delivery. Relax and enjoy the pregnancy.
I too suffer from numbness and pain in my hands. I've had
it for over twenty years, off and on, sometimes when I was
pregnant and sometimes not. I have seen doctors and massage
people and have come up w/ my own strategies. It is now very
much under control. Here are some suggestions. I have found
diet to play a somewhat importnt role. Salt is a big culprit,
especially foods like soy sauce, popcorn from the movie theater,
etc. Drink lots of water and pay attention to what you eat.
Also, at night use Trameel, available at Elephant Pharmacy. It's
homeopathic and worth the price. Use a generous dollop before
you go to bed, like hand lotion, and massage it into your hands.
Also, wearing wrist braces at night will keep your wrists
straight, especially if you sleep like I do, with your hands
under your head. If you are a knitter or quilter or such, do not
do this type of intense work for more than 20 minutes at a time.
I have a career requiring me to use my hands all day long.
These strategies have truly helped. Good luck.
Numb hands too.
I had the exact same problem during my recent pregnancy,
although mine was accompanied by mild swelling. It seems to be
an unfortunate side effect of the hormonal changes you're
undergoing (pregnancy-related arthritis). With my first
pregnancy the symptoms went away as soon as I delivered, but
this time they lingered for several weeks afterwards.
Acupuncture and yoga definitely helped (I highly recommend
Saraswathi Devi's prenatal yoga class at Yogalayam on
Alcatraz/MLK in Berkeley - she can teach you some helpful finger
exercises) -- but the most important things are to rest, to
avoid overusing/aggravating your joints and to be careful of
maintaining a straight wrist position especially when you sleep.
- fellow joint sufferer
I had this too and it drove me nuts. I remember waking up in the
night with my hands frozen into claws. And it hurt a lot. I
asked both my doctor and my prenatal yoga instructor about it,
and neither of them had any good suggestions about what to do, so
I just gritted my teeth and lived through it. It did go away
awhile after my daughter was born. So I guess this post is more
by way of validation than advice: yes it's awful, and no I didn't
find any good ways to deal with it other than patience.
Hang in there.
I completely understand what you are feeling! I had terrible
numbness in my hands and arms throughout my first pregnancy. I
woke up 3 times per night and had to shake my arms so that I
could sleep! I did not know any other pregnant women who
experienced this and could not find much about it on the
internet. I tried to drink a ton of water, but nothing really
made a huge difference. The only great news I have for you is
that I did not experience this AT ALL during my second pregnancy.
When I found out I was pregnant the second time, I was dreading
all of the pain and lack of sleep at the end of the
pregnancy...but it never happened! Good Luck!
Yep, it's carpal tunnel. I had the EXACT same problem when
pregnant with #2 (but not #1). At first it would only happen at
night, I would wake up with both of my hands completely asleep.
Eventually it started to really hurt, though, and not just at
night. So I invested in some wrist braces, the kind where your
fingers are free but you can't move your wrist around, and that
really helped. It was a little weird sleeping with these things
on my wrists but it stopped the pain and the numbness and the
tingling. I bought them at Elephant Pharmacy. The good news is
that like most pregnancy-induced ailments, this one will go away
after your baby is born. It took about a month but I haven't had
to wear those braces ever since. Good luck!
I had the same problem before and during my first pregnancy. I
would wake up with pins and needles in my hand, and then would
experience weakness and tingling thorought the day. It turned
out that I was sleeping on my hand with my wrist bent and I gave
myself Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I was in the UK at the time, and
the doctor sent me to the drugstore for a wrist brace to sleep
in. Relief was almost immediate. I do still have bouts of
numbness etc., but a few nights with my trusty old brace, and
I know exactly what you are going through! Unfortunately I don't
have any advice as to how to make it better. I suffered with
the same thing with my last pregnancy and am 20 weeks pregnant
again and it is just coming back. I believe it has to do with
swelling around the carpal tunnel area. I know that massage can
really help to decrease fluid retention. I would say to try
massage or accupuncture/accupressure. I hope something makes it
bearable for you.
You may want to visit a rheumatologist. I developed a form of
rheumatism shortly after pregnancy, and have heard anecdotally
that others began symptoms of various autoimmune disorders
along with pregnancy.
I am a plastic surgeon in Berkeley and have done a hand surgery
fellowship. It does sound like you have carpal tunnel
syndrome. This is very common during pregnancy and may also be
caused by repetitive use of the hands such as being on the
computer keyboard for uninterrupted hours every day.
The nighttime symptoms you describe are pretty classic and quite
debilitating waking you from sleep all the time.
The easiest thing to do is to wear wrist splints at night. They
hold the wrists in a good resting position and can also help
relieve the daytime tingling. I recommend that you have
thermoplastic custom splints made by a hand therapist. The ones
you can buy at the drug store often do not fit properly and can
cause more swelling and pressure. To get to a therapist you
will need a perscription from a physician. Anti-inflammatory
medications like ibuprofen can also be helpful or a very small
dose of steroids injected directly into the inflamed area can
alleviate symptoms. Obviously both of these options should be
cleared by your OB-GYN.
I also had that, starting around 20 weeks, and unfortunately,
the numbness got worse, and turned into very painful shooting
pains up my arms to the middle of my back between my shoulder
blades, as the pregnancy progressed. I was told that with the
extra blood volume in my body from the pregnancy, that extra
volume exerts pressure on the nerves in the ''carpal tunnel'' and
causes inflamation and hence the shooting pains on the nerves
that go throug the tunnel and extend up the arm to the spinal
column. The carpal tunnel syndrome restraint cuffs helped me
very much. I used them all day and night. I only took them off
to do the dishes, shower, etc. They need to be really good ones--
-the $20 ones that I bought at the drug store did not work very
welll, and luckily my sister had a set that was issued to her by
a medical professional (she's a legal secretary--she also had
carpal tunnel problems while pregnant but not nearly as bad as I
did). So... ask your doctor for a ''prescription'' (she had
Kaiser) (and don't forget to wash them periodically; they will
need to air dry). My doctors (I saw a few within the same
practice) did not seem to have any solutions except to take
vitamin D because that helps with inflamation. Without a
pregnancy, the solution would be hydrocortisone shots and at
least ibuprofen but you can't have those treatments while
pregnant. The other thing that helped me very much is to sleep
with my body propped up as much as possible for sleeping in a
sort of sitting up way. Supposedly acupuncture can help. I did
one treatment, and it did help but it was expensive and I didn't
have the time and money to invest. By the end of my pregnancy,
I really tried to do as little as possible. I couldn't even do
the dishes. The good news is that it went away within a day or 2
after giving birth!! What a relief!! Good luck, I really feel
Something like this happened to me too, though not as badly and
not until my third trimester. For a while I could not feel two
fingers on my left hand at all. The bad news is that it still
hasn't gone away 100%, and I am 26 months postpartum!
I never did get a diagnosis that I felt was satisfactory. All the
OBGYN nurse-practitioners (Kaiser Oakland) that I saw pre- and
postpartum said it was caused by edema (swelling/fluid
retention), pressing on nerves. That may be, and the problem did
get better after giving birth, but why do I *still* feel tingling
in some fingers?
One thing I can suggest: if you are still feeling the numbness
and pain 1 or 2 months after the baby is born, get your thyroid
levels checked. It turned out that I developed hypothyroidism
postpartum, and that may be/have been a factor.
tingly in the fingers
this page was last updated: Nov 5, 2007
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