Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain During Pregnancy

stretch to relieve carpal tunnel pain during pregnancy

stretch to relieve carpal tunnel pain during pregnancy

Carpal tunnel during pregnancy can be a real bummer, but it doesn't have to be! Learn how to relieve carpal tunnel pain from pregnancy pain experts. We share details about carpal tunnel during pregnancy, typical symptoms, & of course how to find relieve!

Carpal Tunnel During Pregnancy

When you're pregnant, the amount of blood in your body doubles. Your body’s ability to pump blood is also less effective during pregnancy. Both create the perfect storm for one of the most common pregnancy complaints: swelling.
 
In places like your carpal tunnel, where 9 tendons and 1 nerve pass through, the swelling can squeeze the median nerve that runs into your hand. This compression creates carpal tunnel syndrome.
Because the swelling can continue into the forearm, it is not unusual for nerve compression to occur here as well. No matter where it is, nerve compression usually causes tingling and numbness.
Swelling is also common in the lower legs during pregnancy. If you've noticed odd leg sensations, sleep disturbances, and leg irritation, you may have restless leg syndrome.
drawing of muscles and ligaments affected by carpal tunnel

Typical Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel

  • Tingling + numbness into your hand forearm
  • Hand / wrist / forearm pain
  • Decreased grip strength

Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel Solutions:

1. Forearm Lengthening Massage

Have a partner help you massage your forearm muscles! You can use lotion or biofreeze for comfort. You can simply massage both sides of the forearm towards the heart, or you can actively stretch while your partner massages! 
  • For the front forearm [palm side]: start with your wrist flexed & curled in, have your partner massage up toward your elbow while you move your wrist through extension
  • For the back forearm, start with your wrist extended & curled out, have your partner massage up toward your elbow while you move your wrist through flexion
  • Repeat 3x on both sides [and both arms!]. Twice a day [before bed is great!]

2. Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape can be useful basically anywhere on the body. To relieve carpal tunnel pain, you can apply it to your wrists, forearms, and even triceps. The tape gently lifts the outermost layer of skin to improve blood and lymphatic flow. This will ultilmately help relieve pressure and reduce swelling in the carpal tunnel.

3. Chiropractic Adjustments

Getting your neck and upper extremity joints adjusted can be a game changer for pregnancy carpal tunnel. The nerves that supply the information to your hand [specifically your median nerve] originate from your neck. Adjusting and mobilizing the neck decreases compression on the nerves - thus promoting pain relief & improved function in your wrist/hand.
neck adjustment during pregnancy to relieve carpal tunnel

4. Targeted Stretching for Carpal Tunnel 

Stretching the appropriate muscles is key to relieving most pain complaints during pregnancy. Carpal tunnel is no different! Stretching and mobilizing your wrist, elbows, and shoulders will improve fluid movement! The video above demos some specific nerve 'stretches': the Median Nerve Stretch, Ulnar Nerve Stretch, &
Radial Nerve Stretch.
  • Median Nerve Stretch: Start with your arm extended and palm facing upwards. Bend your head to the opposite shoulder while you extend your wrists [so your fingers point to the floor]. 
  • Ulnar & Radial Nerve Stretches: It's best to watch the video to fully understand these ones! They have a few more steps...that are totally worth it.

5. Swelling Relief for Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel

Swelling [increased fluid] is the most common cause of carpal tunnel during pregnancy. Postpartum, you may experience wrist, elbow, shoulder, or even thumb pain, but this is largely due to overworked muscles, new repetitive mom positions, and inflammation [hello, nursing at 3 am!]. Regardless of wether you're dealing with carpal tunnel during pregnancy or mommy arm postpartum, the tips below will be helpful in reducing your pain!

  • Epsom Salt Bath/Soak: Epsom salt contains magnesium, which your body can absorb through your skin. Try a bath, keeping your arms submerged, for 20 minutes.
  • Hydration: With the increase in blood comes increased hydration needs! In order for water to get into your cells, it follows electrolytes like sodium and potassium. We love adding LMNT to water for an extra boost!
  • Wrist Gaurd at Night: a wrist compression sleeve or a wrist gaurd at night can help with swelling. A wrist gaurd will keep your wrist in a neutral position while you sleep!
  • Compression Sock Trick: Cut the foot off of a compression sock and put it on your arm to help with circulation [much like you would your calves / legs].
Medical Disclaimer:
All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
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Interested in photos like the ones featured in this post?  We work with Megan Norman, a Minnesota-based family and newborn photographer with incredible talent.  

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