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Specialised Physiotherapy for the treatment of carpal Tunnel Syndrome in pregnancy.

Specialised Physiotherapy for the treatment of carpal Tunnel Syndrome in pregnancy. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common complication of pregnancy which affects 60% of all pregnant women.

The most common symptoms are pain and swelling of the wrists, hands and fingers and in some cases the elbow and forearm with numbness and / or tingling sensations affecting mainly the thumb, index and middle fingers, and sometimes the ring finger. It can affect only one hand but in some cases it can affect both hands.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are often worse at night or first thing in the morning and can be exacerbated by forceful and repetitive activity and extreme wrist positions.

The swelling in the hands during pregnancy is caused by a build up of fluid in the tissues. Some of this fluid can collect in the carpal tunnel (a narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist made from bones and ligaments), increasing the pressure on the median nerve.

When the pressure starts to rise too much, the median nerve gets gradually compressed causing the symptoms described above. This condition can be very painful and have a severely negative impact on the quality of life of pregnant women.

Due to pain, loss of strength and range of movement it can be very difficult and painful when gripping and holding objects or performing activities of daily living such as getting dressed, showering, cooking and working.

Specialised physiotherapy is recommended in these cases to help reduce the swelling and pain, improve the movements of the wrists, hands and fingers and to also prescribe appropriate exercises and advice to help women self -manage the condition.

In most cases the symptoms tend to resolve in the first few weeks after the baby is born. However, in some cases symptoms tend to persist longer and finding the right treatment and advice during and after pregnancy is the priority.

Although these symptoms are common, they are not normal. Therefore, if you are struggling with carpal tunnel syndrome you should book to see a specialised physiotherapist to help you and improve your quality of life during pregnancy and postpartum stages.


Marta de Oliveira

Musculoskeletal Specialist Women's Health Physiotherapist

Creator of 'Pelvic Talks' blog. Click here