Thursday, February 19, 2009
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a problem during Pregnancy?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of increased pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Swelling from pregnancy causes compression of this nerve. There is no room for the tissues in the wrist to expand because of a constrictive fibrous band and this is what keeps the pressure on the nerve causing the symptoms.
Pregnancy can often cause carpal tunnel syndrome to manifest itself for the first time or exacerbate the problem if it is already present. With the increasing number of individuals using computer keyboards, carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming much more common and in some circumstances can be incapacitating. The numbness and tingling can progress to the point of causing impaired function where you may feel clumsy and start dropping things.
The initial advice and treatment one is given with the first onset of symptoms is immobilization of the hand/wrist using a splint. Steroids or surgery (to release the constrictive band) are also used though rarely necessary.
As with almost any medical condition there can be more than one cause for a particular problem. It is imperative that anyone who has symptoms consistent with carpal tunnel be fully evaluated by their health care provider to make sure the symptoms are not an indication of any other neurologic problems.
As noted,splinting/immobilization is by far the best first step and as simple an approach as it may appear to be it is extremely effective in most cases. Splints are specifically made for carpal tunnel syndrome and if not carried by your provider in the office, you can be referred to a medical supply company once you have been evaluated.
Douglas Penta MD