I try not to complain too much about the minor aches and pains associated with pregnancy. I’m so thankful for my children and the huge blessing they are.
And complaining never does anyone any good anyways!
But, there’s one pain that’s a little hard to ignore when you’re a writer and on the computer a lot. Pregnancy carpal tunnel.
I’ve experienced this with five of my pregnancies, and it’s never easy.
The burning pain, the numbness, the weak grasp. I typically experience this only in my dominant right hand and arm, though occasionally my left arm will go numb as well.
I never quite know when it’ll start. But I do know that it disappears completely after I give birth. And in the meantime, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for surviving the pain.
As a writer, I need my arms and hands in good working order. It can be discouraging when they’re not. If you’re dealing with carpal tunnel (either pregnancy related or not), here are some ways I’ve found to help. Oh, and some that didn’t work for me. I’ll share them anyways in case they help you!
When the pain starts, a few moments of stretching can help make it bearable. I typically start by flexing and pointing my wrist.
A few wrist circles help as well.
Then I end by shaking my hand and letting my fingers wiggle. This seems to wake up all the nerves.
I’ve discovered some different triggers for my symptoms. They are:
- Sleeping with my arm under my head
- Hand milking a cow
- Any repetitive activity (think kneading bread, stirring a lot by hand, a lot of mouse work on the computer, etc.)
- Playing games on my phone
As soon as the tingles start, I try to change activities for a few minutes. I get up and walk a few laps around the living room. Or play a quick game with the kids. Or anything.
Because the longer I let those tingles go, the worse the flare up will be.
I’m sort of a lazy typer. I don’t always have good posture, and I don’t hold my wrists like I was taught back in typing class.
These subtle changes definitely play a role in how long I can type before feeling pain.
So I’m trying to get better at sitting up straight and holding my hands properly on the keyboard instead of at an angle like I usually do.
Though I do most of my writing on my laptop, our desktop has one of those fancy ergonomic keyboards. I’ve found that using that more actually helps. (I didn’t think it would!)
So I’m trying to use that computer more right now.
If my husband’s home, I enlist him to give my arm a quick but firm massage. Starting at the elbow and working down with a circular motion helps so much!
If he’s not, I can usually get my left arm to do a basic job on my right arm. It’s not as much relief, but it helps.
This has provided the most relief. After consulting with my midwife, I now take 500mg of magnesium everyday. If I miss a day, I regret it.
It really does help.
In past pregnancies, I’ve also used homemade magnesium lotion as well. That really helped when I had a severe case a few kids back.
I still have everything in the cupboard, I should go make it again!
I truly believe that the body heals itself at night. When your sleep is interrupted as much as mine is, it definitely impacts your health.
So I try to get as much sleep as my ten year old with a sleep disorder will let me. Some nights its not much. Then I try to prioritize a long nap.
Sleep does a body good! (And the mind too!)
The more I move during the day, the less likely I am to have a pain attack. Movement helps keep the blood circulating properly, and is just good for overall health.
As I walk around the house, I make it a point to swing my arms and do some stretches. It helps.
Ask for Help
There’ve been times when I’m in the middle of a diaper change and I suddenly can’t move my arm. Or when I was cooking dinner and had to stop.
At those times, I’m thankful for my family! They’re able to jump in and take over while I stretch or swing my arm and try to get the pain to dissipate.
If needed, I could also ask my oldest or my husband to type for me while I dictate if I had a deadline coming up. I haven’t had to do this yet, but it’s definitely an option.
Break out the Tech
Utilizing technology that you normally wouldn’t can help you survive pregnancy carpal tunnel. I’ve written draft posts using a basic speech to text generator. I’d love to invest in a good copy of Dragon Speak Naturally someday, but haven’t yet. So I do what I can on the basic and then just go in and edit.
It still saves quiet a bit of typing!
Things That Didn’t Work For Me
In my quest to find strategies to overcome pregnancy carpal tunnel pain, I’ve tried plenty of things. Here are three that didn’t work:
- Heating pads
Remember to Slow Your Deadlines if Possible
Typing is hard on your wrists when you’re dealing with carpal tunnel. If you can slow down or space out your deadlines at all, it’ll help.
I’ve purposefully stopped pitching for new gigs as my due date approaches. I know I can manage what I already have on my plate, and could push through the pain to knock everything out if needed.
Have You Dealt with Pregnancy Carpal Tunnel?
Or just regular carpal tunnel?
Do you have any tips you can add?
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