by Alison Gault
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition occurring in pregnancy when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. The carpal tunnel is formed between the flexor retinaculum or transverse ligament of the wrist and the carpal bones of the wrist. A carpal tunnel brace can greatly assist symptoms especially hand numbness occurring during sleep.
What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?
The main symptoms of this condition are those of nerve compression being:
- numbness in the area supplied by the median nerve being the first 3 1/2 fingers and the palm surface under these fingers
- weakness such as dropping a cup, struggling to perform fine movements such as buttons
- pins and needles
Other symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- arm and shoulder pain
- wasting of the base of the thumb
- loss of coordination and strength of the thumb
Symptoms are often worse at night due to the positioning of the wrist during sleep further compressing the median nerve. Sufferers often wake up several times a night with their effected hand numb or with pins and needles. After a period of shaking the wrist, normal feeling returns to the hand. Some people also experience their symptoms during the day especially during tasks that are using the wrist such as typing and using a mouse.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy?
In pregnancy, carpal tunnel tends to occur due to oedema otherwise known as fluid retention. This swelling occurs in approximately 65% of pregnant women with normal blood pressure. This occurs due to the increase of blood volume that occurs in pregnancy. At 32 weeks, there is on average 50% more blood volume that prior to pregnancy. If you are experiencing swelling in pregnancy, ensure that you mention it to your carer as it can be an indicator of serious conditions such as kidney disease or preeclampsia.
How does a carpal tunnel brace help with carpal tunnel syndrome?
A carpal tunnel brace may assist in reducing the31 symptoms of CTS by holding the wrist in the neutral position. This is a position in which the wrist joint is neither flexed or extended. In this position, the carpal tunnel is at its widest and therefore the compression on the nerve is reduced.
When should I wear my carpal tunnel brace?
It can help to wear the brace when sleeping as this is often then time where the symptoms are the strongest and most disruptive. Many people find that when wearing the brace they no longer wake up during the night due to numbness or pins and needles. Other times to wear your brace in during activities that can cause or aggravate your symptoms such as computer work, shopping, cleaning or working.
Can I wear my carpal tunnel brace all the time?
Unlike some other braces, wearing a carpal tunnel brace doesn’t take over the action of the muscles to cause weakness. It may however aggravate your skin especially is your skin sweats or gets damp.
Why we chose the exolite carpal tunnel brace
There are hundreds of different carpal tunnel braces on the market. We chose the exolite brace as it is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably and effectively whilst remaining lightweight and breathable. We know that many of our customers need to use the brace whilst performing fine tasks with their hands such as typing, mouse work or writing. The brace we chose needed to enable free movement of the fingers and wrists whilst still holding the wrist in the correct neutral position. It was also important to us that the brace was very adjustable to ensure both comfort and the most effective fit throughout pregnancy with the potential changes in wrist size due to swelling.
The information provided in this post is of a general nature and for educational purposes. This information does not replace professional medical assessment and advice. We strongly recommend contacting a medical professional if you are experiencing any unusual or new symptoms.
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