Avera Medical Minute ASL: Carpal Tunnel and Pregnancy - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute ASL: Carpal Tunnel and Pregnancy

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It's no secret that children can be a handful, but what would you do if you were dealing with pain and numbness in your hands?

Carter and Hudson, yeah we got lucky with them everything is perfect!" Said new mom Beth Hofer.

Beth couldn't ask for better twin boys. A better pregnancy? That's a different story.

"While I was sleeping my arms would start hurting and get numb and tingly and the ring finger middle finger and thumb would just be numb at the tips and it was kind of hard to sleep at night." Said Hofer. 

Beth figured her pain and numbness was a normal part of having a baby. But when things continued to get worse even after the birth of the boys she knew something was up.

"You know when you get a charlie horse? The feeling of a charlie horse that's kind of what it feels like in the hands sometimes when the cramp up and you have to standup stretch out and shake it out!" Said Hofer.

While Beth was still in the hospital she got a visit from Avera occupational therapist James Kokales. He suggested Beth's symptoms could be a type of carpal tunnel.

"With any excess fluid in the body carpal tunnel is one of those unfortunate things that can rear its ugly head." Said Kokales.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically caused by repetitive motion, like typing on a keyboard. In pregnant women, the water retention and swelling can lead to pinching of the median nerve that goes through the hand and into the fingers.

"When we extend our wrist it puts compression on that nerve and if we flex it too much it also compresses the nerve. At night we all default to a flexed position it's normal, and we could be like this at night or this at night, and it never allows that nerve a good chance to recover." Said Kokales.

To make sure the nerves in her hands had time to recover, Beth had to wear splints on her wrists while she slept.

"He said here try this I tried it out and I slept fine through the first night I didn't have any problems in my arms wrists fingers anything and it helped!" Said Hofer.

"The main thing is to get the inflammation out of there to increase the blood flow to the area so healing can occur." Said Kokales.

Many people choose to stay silent and just live with the pain. But without proper treatment the nerve damage can become permanent. In conjunction with the splinting, patients can also do exercises and other occupational therapies to make sure the swelling and nerve impingement subsides.

"The splinting and some of the treatment options that we do help them substantially so they can do their activities without pain or a least manage their pain." Said Kokales.

And as any mother will tell you caring for one child is a handful. So don't let carpal tunnel keep you from your first and most important job of being a mom.

"Ask for help right away whether it be coming here are going to your doctor because more people need to know that this is what it is and there is help for it." Said Hofer.

Carpal tunnel is not typically caused by pregnancy but it's not uncommon. Implementing therapy and catching it early usually restores a patient's normal hand function. For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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