Yoga for Carpal Tunnel: Here’s What You Need to Know

Carpal tunnel syndrome can completely disrupt your life. And until you are diagnosed with it and experience the many symptoms and complications, you do not realize just how much you use your hands and wrists in your daily life.

With carpal tunnel syndrome, simple tasks such as writing, typing, and even dressing and eating can become difficult. You may wonder if there is anything you can do to alleviate the symptoms that are disrupting your life in unprecedented ways.

Surprisingly, yoga is one of the best natural carpal tunnel treatments available. Here is what you need to know about yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome.

yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome poses
Yoga for carpal tunnel syndrome involves mostly basic, simple poses.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If you are unfamiliar with yoga, you are probably skeptical about its applicability to this condition. However, this skepticism is unfounded. Yoga is an ancient practice that operates on the premise that a strong connection between the mind and the body can help a person to overcome any number of physical and emotional obstacles that stand in their way.

Yoga is a series of stretches exercises that when paired with thoughtful, controlled breathing, foster this mind-body connection. In your yoga practice you become more aware of the needs and limitations of your body while simultaneously increasing your physical flexibility and range of motion.

Exercises to Try

If you still aren’t entirely convinced, at least not convince enough to sign up for your first official yoga class, you can try a few yogic exercises at home to see for yourself. Exercises that increase wrist flexibility are simple and easy to try.

One of the most effective wrist exercises you can try is known as prayer position. You simply press your palms together (fingers pointed up) in front of your chest as if you are praying. If your wrists are flexible enough to do this comfortably, try the reverse prayer (reverse Namaste). This is the same pose, but you put your hands in prayer position behind your back rather than in front. By doing so, you deepen the stretch.

A pose known as the eagle pose (more specifically eagle arms) is also effective in relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel while increasing flexibility. You start by intertwining your arms at the elbow. You then try to bring your hands together into a prayer in front of your face. This stretches your wrists and your shoulders.

To do a full eagle pose you will also cross your legs at the knees, and balance on one leg with your knees slightly bent. However, if your focus is only on treating your carpal tunnel syndrome, you can perform the eagle arms at any time, even while seated.

Yoga for Carpal Tunnel: Exercises to Avoid

Not all yoga exercises are good for your carpal tunnel syndrome. One of the most common poses in yoga, known as the downward facing dog, may be the worst. In this pose, you put a great deal of pressure on your hands forcing your wrists to hold a great deal of your body weight. This can cause you severe pain and can further injure your wrists. If you do decide to try wrist-heavy poses, consider using yoga gloves or even a yoga wheel.

Any exercise that compresses your wrists should be avoided (this includes both downward dog and push-up position). If you are taking yoga classes with an instructor, let them know that you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and they will be able to design a yoga program that is perfect for you.

Instead of allowing your carpal tunnel syndrome to severely limit you in your daily life, try to incorporate yoga into your regular workout routine. Yoga stretches can help increase your flexibility and range of motion in your wrists as well as help alleviate your pain. So, get started in your new yoga practice today!

Photo credit: Creative Commons user cityofstpete (no modifications made)