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C: What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

16/04/2010 10:39 | Updated 22 May 2015

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is common in later pregnancy, and is caused when there is pressure on the median nerve within the wrist.

This nerve is one of three that connect into the hand and, when pressure from swelling is placed upon it, pain and weakness is felt in the hand and forearm.

More specifically, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can include pins and needles in the thumb, index finger, middle fingers and half of the ring finger.

These fingers may also feel numb, and there can also be pain travelling up to the forearm though the wrist. The symptoms are usually worse at night.

Initial treatments are fairly simple and focus around dispersing the swelling. This involves gently exercising the wrists by moving them in a circular motion and flexing them. Bathing the wrist in cold water is also known to help, as is drinking plenty of water.

If these treatments are ineffective, a doctor may arrange an appointment for physiotherapy, which will involve more specific exercises that are targeted to the individuals specific symptoms and condition. If all else fails, a steroid injection can be given in pregnancy, but only if the discomfort is too uncomfortable to manage.

In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome will clear up by itself, usually within a few weeks after the birth.

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