🤱🏻 Are you currently pregnant or did you just give birth to a new baby? You know your body is going through/has gone through a lot of changes. But why do your hands hurt and throb so much!?
It can be due to Mommy Wrist!!
✋🏼The medical term for “Mommy Wrist” is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: It is a condition that affects the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. Tenderness and pain at the base of the thumb which is made worse by moving the thumb in a downward flexed position. Tendons run in a tunnel, and with overuse, the tunnel and the tendons can become inflamed and irritated.
Carpal tunnel syndrome: The carpal tunnel is a small passage made of small bones and a strong band of tissue through which tendons, blood vessels, and nerves run along the wrist. When the nerve gets compressed, it leads to a feeling of numbness, pins and needles, pain, throbbing, and a dull ache in the fingers
🔎Why does this happen?
- Mommy's Wrist can occur when we repeatedly torque our wrists and hands in awkward positions to pick up, hold, and nurse our babies. Over time, those tiny motions add up to cause a lot of pain.
- During pregnancy, the body retains more fluid which often causes swelling of the hands. The fluid build-up ends up compressing the nerves running through the tunnel
HOW CAN YOU AVOID MOMMY'S WRIST?
Keep your forearm, wrist, and hand in a straight line while feeding your baby a bottle, grasping your breast to assist with breastfeeding, changing a diaper, and opening doors.
Take frequent breaks from holding up the baby’s head.
Don’t death grip when you hold things - whenever safe, loosen your grip!
When in a plank position, elevate your hands with a board so that they are at a 10-degree angle rather than flat on the ground.
You could also try carrying the child with both arms to lower the amount of pressure or use a baby carrier.
When pushing a stroller, place your palms on the top of the handles and keep your wrists at neutral.
How to manage symptoms
✅Rest: Avoid non-essential activities that require overusing your hand/wrist
✅Ice: Put an ice pack on the area of pain for 10-15 minutes. Ensure to wrap the icepack in a towel.
✅Sleeping positions: Avoid sleeping on your affected side if the condition only affects one hand. Elevating your hand on a pillow while sleeping can help to keep you more comfortable
EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN THE AREA OF CONCERN
When completing these exercises remember to not pull your thumb so far back as to hurt it. At first, try these exercises without weight and once that begins to feel too easy you can move on using weight or using a resistance band to increase the strength of your thumb/wrist.
Place your hand flat on a table. Gently move your affected thumb up and away from the table surface and slowly bring it back to the table. Repeat 10 times for 3-5 times/day.
Place your hand vertically so that your fingers are pointing straight ahead like you’re reaching for a handshake. With your other hand, gently lift your affected thumb towards you and then back in line with your fingers. Repeat 10 times for 3-5 times/day.
Place your affected wrist and forearm on the end of a table with your thumb pointing upwards. Your hand should be hanging off the side of the table, while your forearm and wrist are supported by the table. Gently lower your hand down below the table edge until you start to feel discomfort. Then use your other hand to bring your hand back up in line with your wrist.
Use an elastic band (i.e rubber band, hair band) and place your fingers inside. Stretch the rubber band by extending your fingers slowly. Repeat 10 times for 3-5 times/day.
Take some playdough or a stress ball and work on your finger strength in general. Squeeze and hold, then release slowly.
STRETCHES TO DO
These stretches are important to do with both hands, even if you only have pain in one wrist. Complete these stretches 1-2 times a day. Perform each repetition for 5-10 secs.
Thumb Taps: Take your thumb and tap the base of the fingers on the same hand
Prayer Hands: Place your hands in the typical prayer position, pressing your wrists together enough to feel some pressure. Then rotate up and down slowly. When your fingers are pointed at the ground try to raise your elbows up as high as possible without the bottom of your hands coming apart.
Wrist Rolls: Interlock your fingers, then rotate your hands in small controlled circles. Once you have gone one direction for a couple of repetitions, then switch directions.
Finger Spreads: Start with your hands in a half fist and then stretch your fingers as far apart as you can. When you have hit the end range of the finger stretch hold it there for a count of two.
Pull Down: Take one hand and face the palm away from your body, fingers pointing up towards the ceiling. Use your other hand and pull the fingers and palm back slowly. Pull it back for 3 seconds and then release a little bit, then take a deep breath and release it and pull it back further. Once that hand feels stretched, switch to the other one.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TAKE CARE OF MOMMY'S WRIST?
Mommy wrist can be extremely dangerous, and if left untreated, may require surgery. We know that moms are very busy raising little angels, but self-care is just as important. If you experience this only in one wrist, do not just use the other wrist to do things because it will only make both wrists injured. If you wait it out too long it could become a surgical problem and you will have even less time holding your precious child.
🗣Speak with a Harmony Physiotherapy Expert today if you think you have questions about your wrist pain!
♂At Harmony Physiotherapy we are Experts in Physiotherapy. We work with and coordinate all patient care with other health care professionals to maximize results and effectiveness.
Harmony Physiotherapy Ottawa will assist you in achieving a full and healthy recovery. Book an appointment with our Harmony Physiotherapy Experts today. We can help get you back on your path of recovery!