What’s that tingling feeling in my wrist?

Plagued by sharp intense pains shooting up your wrist? You may have carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are solutions for you…


As mothers, we need to carry and cradle our babies all the time. However, hoisting baby from his cot, patting his back, even carrying baby barang like the heavy car seat can lead to serious strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

            You’ll feel a tingling sensation — like pins and needles — as well as pain, numbness and weakness around the wrists and hands. The term carpal tunnel refers to the small space in your wrist where the median nerve runs through. When you put pressure on this nerve, this can affect movements and sensations in your thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.

            Incidentally, some of the actions you perform in early motherhood put you at higher risk of getting the condition. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Leon Foo from Mount Elizabeth Hospital notes that a simple repetitive act of holding your baby’s milk bottle when you feed him, or when you scrub and wring the laundry can give rise to carpal tunnel syndrome, too.

When you feed your little one, use pillows of adequate height to prop up your cradling arm.

            Pregnant mothers aren’t spared either. Thanks to water retention and not repetitive hand movements, they are at risk of developing the injury because of the pressure the swelling puts on the nerves. Diabetics — gestational or otherwise — hypothyroidism and inflammatory arthritis could also lead to the condition.

            While surgical options are available, it should remain as a last resort. First, try to make simple changes to your daily activities to manage the discomfort. Dr Foo has several suggestions:

Avoid repetitive actions

Critically, patients MUST be disciplined in actively avoiding the repetitive activities that led to the condition, stresses Dr Foo. To manage the pain or swelling in the meantime, you can apply ice on your wrists or take anti-inflammatory pills. You can also manage or prevent the condition by wearing a wrist splint, he adds.

Mind your posture

Maintain the right posture to reduce your chances of injury and sustaining other related strains, aches and pains. When you feed your little one, use pillows of adequate height to prop up your cradling arm, notes Dr Foo. Other simple steps you can try include stretching and flexing your wrist regularly and avoid remaining in a fixed position for long periods of time.

Choose right-height furniture

Buy a diaper-changing table of an appropriate height and you will avoid bending forward, especially at an awkward angle. Cots are another common danger area ― Dr Foo advises that you choose those with side rails you can lower for easier access to baby. Incidentally at a later date, to prevent an older and more mobile tot from climbing out, you’ll need to lower the cot’s floor. This means that you will need to bend forward a lot more to compensate for the loss in height, which could cause you to strain your back, he warns.

Keen to try Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to ease that pesky wrist pain? Read on…