***Disclaimer: The suggestions in this post do not replace medical advice. Please schedule an appointment with your doctor for a diagnosis and a referral for therapy.
There are a number unexpected symptoms after having a baby! Some of the most debilitating symptoms are the ones that affect your hands and wrists. Let’s talk about a few possibilities:
- De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis: Inflammation of the tendons that control your ability to abduct and extend your thumb. These tendons travel through your wrist so the pain may feel like it’s more in your wrist, but is actually caused by repetitive or sustained movements of your thumb and wrist.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The median nerve that innervates your thumb, index, middle, and half of your ring finger is compressed. You may feel tingling and numbness that travels through your wrist and into the tips of your thumb, index, middle, and half of your ring finger. You may notice that the pain wakes you up in the middle of the night.
What you can do: Definitely schedule to see your primary physician or better yet, a hand surgeon. The doctor will be able to properly diagnose you and review your options with you. The key is not to wait until the symptoms worsen. Once you start feeling it, address it! But while you wait for an appointment that may take a few weeks, here are some things you can try: A splint! Click on the images below for a more detailed description.
- For De Quervain’s: try a long thumb splint, like this one: Thumb Spica
- For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: try a wrist splint, like this one: Wrist Splint
The purpose of splinting is to give the irritated structures time to rest and heal. You may initially have more discomfort once these structures are given rest, but with time, the symptoms should subside. While immobilization will help stop the progression of your injury, you will likely need additional treatment to deal with the subsequent stiffness. I highly recommend an evaluation and follow-up visits with a therapist who can use modalities and do manual therapy techniques that will break up the scar tissue, decrease your stiffness, teach you exercises to increase your strength, and show you alternate ways to do your activities so that you do not re-injure yourself.