I have mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome before I got pregnant with my last son, but this was not really a surprise. I have worked at my content and social medial marketing business for more than 15 years now. This means day after day of working on the computer. I do exercises and I use peripherals that are meant to help with carpal tunnel but occasionally I would get sore wrists or numbness in my fingers.
But once I got pregnant again, I noticed the problem was getting worse. In fact, some days I would wake up and I could not feel my hands at all. From my wrist down on each arm, I had no sensation. It was a scary feeling to wake up with.
I talked to my obstetrician and she said that pregnancy hormones can actually make carpal tunnel syndrome worse but that the good news was when the pregnancy was over, I would start to get better. Unfortunately, I still had six months of my pregnancy to go.
Over the next six months, my carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms would get worse. I found that I could only type for shorter periods of time, where before I would sit at the computer for long periods of time. This made it difficult to successfully do my job. Here are some of the symptoms I experienced regularly:
- Pins and needles feeling in my hands and fingers
- Burning sensation in my thumbs and sometimes other fingers
- Aching hands, wrists and sometimes up my arm to my elbow
- Weaker grip, making it hard to hold things or open things
- Numbers in the fingers, hands and sometimes wrist, too
- Dry skin and swelling in the hands and fingers
There were some other random symptoms here and there that were also attributed to the carpal tunnel.
To help, my doctor had me wear wrist braces at night and often during the day when I wasn’t typing. I had to try to break the habit of sleeping on my hands and I had to learn to move my hands and arms and not keep them in the same position for a long time.
I was also taught some exercises that helped and were fun and simple to do. At first I was resistant to doing the exercises. I felt like I just didn’t have the time but when I saw how much they could help me, I knew I needed to commit to it. This saved me a lot of wasted time of pain and cramps, numbness and being unable to use my hands. So the exercises and the braces were worth it.
After I delivered my baby, it took some time for the pregnancy hormones to leave my body, so I didn’t have instant relief. But slowly over the weeks that followed the birth, I noticed fewer symptoms. Now it’s been two years and I do still have carpal tunnel syndrome but with the techniques I learned while pregnant, I can treat it now and I rarely have days that are so bad it hinders my ability to do things I want to do.