It Affects 1 in 3 Pregnant Women! | Bankstown Health

It Affects 1 in 3 Pregnant Women!

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects 1 in 3 women during pregnancy

MASSAGE FOR PREGNANCY INDUCED CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by the compression of the median nerve at the wrist.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects one in three women during pregnancy. It is most common during the second and third trimester. Symptoms can include:

  • Numbness and tingling through the hands and fingers.
  • Pain through the arms and hands.
  • Weakness through the hand.
  • Radiating/referred pain into the arm or shoulder.
  • A burning sensation throughout the hand/hands and fingers.

So How Does Carpal Tunnel Occur?

During pregnancy, a woman will experience swelling through her extremities. The swelling throughout the arms and wrists squeezes down onto the median nerve creating inflammation, pain, and numbness through the hand (or hands) and fingers. While It is most common during the second and third trimester of pregnancy,  the symptoms may still be present for the months proceeding the birth.

How To Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

When it comes to treating carpal tunnel the main aim is to reduce swelling and inflammation of the tissues involved.

Get a Massage:

Tightness, inflammation and swelling all contribute to the compression of the median nerve. Getting a massage will release off these tight muscles and ease the strain on the nerve. The massage therapist will manually release all of the tissues throughout the median nerve path. Massage also increases the movement of fluids within the tissues which aids in the reduction of excess swelling. The massage therapist will also be able to give you specific exercises to do at home to further ensure all tight muscles in your arms stay nice and relaxed.
It is important that you choose a remedial massage therapist who is experienced and who specialises in pregnancy massage.

Be Mindful of How You Sleep.

Sometimes during the night, we can end up in all sorts of crazy positions, worsened by the limitations of sleeping whilst pregnant. Be careful not to curl your hands while you sleep as this puts a constant pressure on the median nerve for hours on end. If you find that you are unable to control this, then you have the option of wrist splints which keep the hands in a neutral position while you sleep.

Avoid Repetitive Strain.

Repetitive movements through the wrist cause inflammation and swelling.  Things such as long hours at a computer, poor positioning of your wrists at the keyboard or mouse all add extra strain to the wrist. Try to take frequent breaks from any repetitive movement which overextends the wrist. During the rest, periods make sure you are doing your prescribed wrist flexor and extensor stretches.

Eat a Balanced Diet.

It is important to only gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy. Excess weight can add extra strain on the neck and shoulders. Straining and tightness of the tissues where the median nerve passes create a greater chance of compression of the median nerve so it is important to make sure you maintain a healthy, balanced diet through your pregnancy.  Make sure you cut down on your salt and sugar intake. Drink lots of water, eat loads of vegetables and eat plenty of foods containing Vitamin B6 which can help to promote a healthy nervous system. Dark green vegetables, oily white fish, avocados, sunflower and sesame seeds, garlic and lean meats are all high in vitamins B6.


If you are presenting with any of these symptoms and think you may be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome call
Bankstown Health on 9708 4338
to book in with one of our fully qualified therapists who specialise in pregnancy treatments.


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About the author

Samantha Macgregor is a qualified remedial massage therapist, with over 8 years clinical experience. In that time she has worked in a primary health care setting managing clients with a wide range of musculoskeletal complaints. She is also qualified in dry needling and sports / deep tissue. pregnancy massage. She has extensive experience and expertise in specialised pregnancy massage.