I had a client ask me last night if the tingling in her hands meant that she should stop exercising. It’s a fair question, as non-pregnancy induced carpal tunnel is often an overuse injury, and rest can help. However, with pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, it’s just the opposite. One of the best remedies is exercise.
Pregnancy induced carpal tunnel is normally caused by swelling, not by overuse, and exercise can reduce fluid retention. If you are feeling that tingly, numb feeling in your hands, here are two great exercises:
1- Get in the pool! Swimming, water aerobics, or even just splashing around or jogging in the pool can reduce swelling during pregnancy. Try to be in water up to your shoulders, and you’ll find you have a noticeable reduction in swelling for the next day or so, and it’s likely your carpal tunnel will feel better as well!
2- Stretch! Stretching and yoga, particularly floor-based exercises, are great at reducing swelling by increasing circulation. They reduce your fluid retention, and help you get some more feeling back into your hands. This can be really beneficial in the evening, when carpal tunnel symptoms are often at their worst. If a yoga pose (such as cat/cow or a table top position) feels like it hurts your wrists either double up your yoga mat for extra padding or put a weight on the ground and then hold onto that so that your wrist is straight. Some women find that turning their wrists out so that the thumb rather than middle finger is pointing forward also helps eliminate wrist pain.
One other secret to reducing swelling is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While it seems counter-intuitive, if you’re swelling, you need to drink MORE water, not less. Upping your water while either spending some time in the pool or stretching will go along way towards decreasing swelling and pregnancy induced carpal tunnel.
What did you find helped with swelling in pregnancy?