With the joy of pregnancy all mums-to-be will be no doubt ‘tingling’ with excitement! Not all tingling sensations are so pleasant however and many expectant mothers also experience painful tingling (paraesthesia) at some stage throughout their pregnancy.
In pregnancy blood volume and interstitial fluid volume in the body increases by around 50%! Fluid retention (oedema) is therefore common and a lot of women will report that their feet, ankles, legs, hands and face feel and appear to be swollen. This swelling along with postural changes in pregnancy can cause nerve compression (peripheral nerve entrapment) and a variety of associated symptoms such as tingling, burning, pain, numbness and muscle weakness.
The most common entrapment neuropathies are:
Sciatica: compression of the sciatic nerve that passes from the lower back to the feet (causing symptoms in the leg and foot).
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: compression of the median nerve as it passes through an area of the wrist known as the Carpal Tunnel (causing symptoms in the hand).
Brachial Plexus Neuropathy: compression of the nerves supplying the arm and hand.
Meralgia Paraesthetica: compression of the lateral cutaneous nerve as it passes beneath the inguinal ligament in the groin (causing symptoms in the thigh).
Gestational diabetes or vitamin deficiencies are among many other systemic causes of paraesthesia in pregnancy. It is therefore important to have a full assessment to find out the cause of your symptoms.
How Can Osteopathy Help?
The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence advises the use of physical therapy as a non-pharmacological treatment of neuropathic pain (NICE, 2017) and recent evidence suggests that techniques used by osteopaths and other manual therapists can help moblise fluid and reduce intraneural oedema (Boudier et al., 2017).
At Kane and Ross we use a combination of osteopathic mobilization techniques, acupuncture and exercise to improve fluid dynamics, muscle tension and posture. This can help to reduce compression and alleviate symptoms.
If you would like a full assessment with one of our osteopaths please call the clinic on 020 7436 9007.
Boudier-Reve ret, M., Gilbert, K.K, Alle gue, Dr., Moussadyk, M., Brisme, E jr., Feipel, V., Dugailly, P.M., Sobczak, S. (2017) Effect of neurodynamic mobilization on fluid dispersion in median nerve at the level of the carpal tunnel. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice 31 (45-51)
National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence (NICE) Guidelines. Available at: https://pathways.nice.org.uk/pathways/neuropathic-pain#content=view-node%3Anodes-principles-of-care