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Carpal tunnel - is there any point speaking to doctor?

(16 Posts)
Rosieeeee Fri 14-Aug-20 06:48:52

I am nearly 35 weeks pregnant and have been putting up with mild carpal tunnel symptoms in my right hand for several weeks, worse in the morning and to the point I can't sleep on my right side for very long as lying on my arm/shoulder makes it worse (doesn't help when lying on my left all night gives me cramping hip pain and I can't physically sleep on it after so long). Now I've started to get carpal tunnel symptoms in my left hand too, but not quite as bad. I had occasional symptoms for months before I was pregnant, such as when I was driving, but it wasn't bad and so I ignored it. Now it's at the point I can't make a fist first thing in the morning for half an hour or so, and I can't hold my phone writing this properly and have pins and needles in my fingers. The only way to stop it is to get out of bed and get moving. It's fine during the day unless I'm doing something for a prolonged time, but then I can shake it off again.
Is it worth speaking to a doctor so late in pregnancy when it'll probably improve afterwards? My concern is that yesterday my feet started to swell slightly which hasn't happened yet to me during the pregnancy (BP ok) and I have visions it getting worse if I'm starting to retain fluid.
Anyone any experience of what they do for carpal tunnel or is it a case of put up with it?

OP’s posts: |
Nowisthemonthofmaying Fri 14-Aug-20 06:52:02

Have you tried wearing a splint? I have pregnancy-related carpal tunnel and wearing a wrist brace helps a lot, particularly at night as otherwise I tend to sleep with my wrist bent which makes it much worse. You could ask your Dr for one but I just bought one online which has done the trick.

Chirpychirpy3 Fri 14-Aug-20 06:54:11

I didn’t have it in pregnancy but got it after dd was born. I went to see the doctor as it was driving me crazy and keeping me awake at night and they advised that I sleep with wrist supports on which I did and it did help. It then magically went away.
I really feel for you as it is awful!

Rosieeeee Fri 14-Aug-20 06:54:17

No not tried a split, I wasn't sure if there was much point as I seem to get symptoms just lying on my shoulder or if my elbow is bent. That's generally when I'm awake though so I guess it worsens throughout the night if my wrist is bent so might be worth a try

OP’s posts: |
moonlight1705 Fri 14-Aug-20 08:01:37

I had similar after DD was born but mine was actually the nerve trapped in the elbow rather than the hand (cupital tunnel) . It went away on its own but I couldn't get a splint as it supported the wrong place IYSWIM.

The doctors did not recommend much except if it was really bad then surgery. hmm

Rosieeeee Fri 14-Aug-20 08:25:35

I think I'll probably buy a splint and see how that goes, if it doesn't help maybe the issue is a bit further up. Pretty sure it's carpal tunnel and not cubital as the affected fingers are in that nerve pattern and not the little finger. Just don't see the point in speaking to the GP over the phone (don't really want to go see anyone unnecessarily at this point) and they'll probably just agree and say it'll probably improve afterward baby arrives

OP’s posts: |
Maincat Fri 14-Aug-20 08:44:34

Things I found helpful were splints at night and periodically icing my hands. I know what you mean, at 35 weeks there's not much the GP will do and if it doesn't go after birth that's when to go and get referred to a physio or hand clinic. Do keep an eye on any swelling though! Carpal tunnel is painful and annoying, you have my sympathies.

lockdownpregnancy Fri 14-Aug-20 08:55:36

OP I could have written your post!
Just under 34 weeks and exactly the same as you! I was recommended after posting on MN and I've bought some splints but trying to write with one on for work is impossible and it's been too hot this week to wear them in bed, as I sweating so much I ended up with a rash, so I haven't used mine yet! 😬
I'm hoping now it's cooler I can wear them in the evening and for bedtime and I'll start to improve!
I feel your pain! I literally do! 😫

Dollywilde Fri 14-Aug-20 09:00:40

I mentioned it in passing at my mw appointment so it was on my record and because I wanted to be sure the slight swellings weren’t anything more serious. Recommended splints smile

Rosieeeee Fri 14-Aug-20 09:06:16

Thanks all 😊, @lockdownpregnancy hopefully we won't suffer too much longer! I have a blood test at the local maternity assessment unit on Tuesday so might mention it then 👍

OP’s posts: |
Foggymist Fri 14-Aug-20 09:10:20

I mentioned it to gp and got referred to physio who gave me splints, definitely don't suffer on needlessly without at least checking with them. But also get BP checked if you've sudden swelling in your feet.

Rosieeeee Fri 14-Aug-20 09:14:44

Checked my BP again this morning, all ok, just very mild swelling in the feet - have been sat doing nothing at all during the heat at all the last few days and didn't have any swelling until yesterday when it was cooler but I was doing a lot more yesterday so that's probably why.

OP’s posts: |
lockdownpregnancy Fri 14-Aug-20 10:59:19

My feet are slightly swollen OP! As are my hands. I don't think the heat helps but it's also super common in pregnancy.
I would say if it gets too bad and your face also starts to swell then you need to be checked over just to be safe 👍🏻

Laserbird16 Fri 14-Aug-20 11:10:26

Is it carpal tunnel? Sleeping with your arm bent makes me wonder if you are experiencing ulnar nerve impingement. I have this. How is your little finger? Classic ulnar nerve problems will effect your little finger and the outside half of your ring finger,out side edge of your hand, elbow and refer into the middle of your scapula area.

I don't think your gp will be as useful as a physiotherapist. See a hand physiotherapist if you can - though any physiotherapist worth their salt can help.

In my case, I was prescribed nerve glides and given advice to prevent hyper flexion of the elbow and wrist. It is very much exacerbated by hormones while pregnant and breastfeeding and then spending long periods of time elbows bent holding babies just tips it over the edge.

Laserbird16 Fri 14-Aug-20 11:12:22

Sorry RTFT! Still see a hand physio

FamilyAreEverything Fri 14-Aug-20 11:30:43

Hi. Carpal tunnel is really common in pregnancy due to the subtle swelling you get towards the latter stages. You may not look swollen, but the carpal tunnel is a very small opening at the base of your palm made by the shape of the bones at the base of your hand and a ligament that sits over the top. Carpal tunnel is always worse at night due to a number of reasons. Firstly your blood pressure will be lower when you are asleep which will have an impact on the blood supply to the nerve which supplies the sensation to the the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger. Secondly, the natural resting position of your wrist and fingers is slightly flexed, which closes the carpal tunnel a little. Ultimately, you can’t change the fact that your blood pressure is lower at night but you can wear a splint which will hold your wrist in a better position to open up the carpal tunnel.

You need to look for a Futura splint (try Amazon) with a removal metal bar which sits over the palm side of the wrist. Usually the metal bar is angled slightly to extend the wrist backwards, but really you want your wrist to be straight. Take the bar out and bend it so that it’s straighter and put it back in the splint. For the PP who mentioned it making their skin sweaty try using a loose tubigrip or and old sock with the toe cut off which will act like a sock underneath the splint. The splints tend to be made of neoprene which isn’t great placed next to the skin for long periods.

The good news is that once baby arrives it should get better, but if it doesn’t then it’s important that you seek medical advice.

Sorry for the essay, but I hope that helps.

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