Being a new mum brings with it many challenges: recovering from a birth, sleep deprivation, constant feeding, changing, lifting... are just a few! Why not throw a bit of wrist pain into the mix? I like to call it Baby Wrist and it’s something I experienced myself and I see & hear a lot of during my working day with mums, so I thought I would help to explain what exactly causes it and how it can be managed.
What is ‘baby wrist’?
‘Baby wrist’ is essentially an overuse injury that is triggered by the often repetitive tasks of having a new baby, like feeding, lifting, carrying and rocking. New mums are prone to overuse conditions like these because of the softening effect certain pregnancy hormones (like relaxin) can have on the ligaments and tendons. It can range from a niggle when you hold your baby to more severe pain that prevents you from gripping ... (a bit of nuisance to say the least when caring for a new baby)
The most common cause of ‘baby wrist’ is DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis, which involves inflammation of two tendons in the thumb. It normally produces pain on the thumb side of the wrist during lifting/carrying and gripping.
Another possible cause is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. This involves compression of the structures in the carpel tunnel of the wrist, which can cause tingling, numbness and pain in the wrist & hand. It is quite common during pregnancy, because the extra fluid we retain can compress the tunnel. After pregnancy, the cause is usually more related to overuse; specifically spending too much time with the wrist in flexion (i.e bent – think how many times you are doing that!!!).
What you may feel
What can you do to help?
Often making just a few changes to your wrist position in feeding, carrying & lifting postures can make a huge difference. Try:
What can I do to help?
I can help by determining what the exact cause of your wrist pain is. Sometimes the wrist or thumb needs hands on treatment and support to help alleviate the pain - especially if the tissues are very inflammed and the pain is not alleviating with the above strategies.
I can then help by:
Bernadette is a pelvic health & women’s physiotherapist, a mother & female advocate. She specialises in treating ALL conditions affecting women, especially new mums and mums-to-be. She runs Hawkes Bay Pelvic Health & Women’s Physiotherapy, empowering & helping women through all stages of life – www.hawkesbaypelvicphysio.co.nz. She can also be found on facebook @hawkesbaypelvichealthphysio
Give Bernadette a call today 021 02554238 to see how she can help you enjoy your motherhood journey & beyond.
Bernadette is a pelvic health & women’s physiotherapist, a mother & female advocate. She specialises in treating ALL conditions affecting women, especially new mums and mums-to-be. She runs Hawkes Bay Pelvic Health & Women’s Physiotherapy, empowering & helping women through all stages of life