To read the previous part of this article, go to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms.
Before preparing a carpal tunnel syndrome treatment plan for a pregnant woman, the doctor will fill out an extensive questionnaire and perform a physical exam. Based on the severity of the symptoms, they might request further tests. This might be a neurological reactivity test, which evaluates damage to the median nerve and if nerve conduction still occurs, indicating the degree of nerve compression.
If the damage seems slight, in addition to wearing a brace, the doctor could refer you to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. These specialists can advise specific exercises to help circulation and slow the inflammatory process. Yoga seems to help certain pregnant women.
Acupuncture is an alternative approach which can help reduce inflammation, but alone it can’t solve the underlying cause of the syndrome.
The application of heat can also be recommended to reduce pain. Cold compresses can also reduce swelling.
For most pregnant women, the ailments caused by carpal tunnel syndrome disappear in the weeks following the birth of their baby as their blood volume diminishes.
When symptoms persist, and the intensity is too severe for the pregnant woman’s tolerance, the doctor can inject local anti-inflammatory medications directly in the wrist. Don’t worry; the baby isn’t at risk as it won’t reach it.
As a last resort, if the increasingly invasive procedures don’t relieve the pain or the damage to the median nerve is considered severe after neurological tests, the doctor may choose surgery. This surgery attempts to free the nerve in the carpal tunnel to reduce compression and allow it to function to avoid possible irreversible after effects. They will always start on the side most affected, and often it’s enough. The doctor will nonetheless ensure that the median nerve problem doesn’t progress on the other side. After the procedure, the pregnant woman will often once again have feeling and strength in her wrist, hand and fingers.
If the surgical option is chosen, ideally the doctor will perform the procedure before pregnancy arrives at term to allow the mother to recover before childbirth fully. When pushing to deliver her baby, she will need strength in her wrists and hands.
I hope this has provided you with useful information and I wish you all the best.
The Baby Expert
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