Updated: May 8, 2021
Here are some recommendations of yoga asanas that can be used for the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that commonly causes pain, numbness, stiffness and tingling in the hand, wrist and arm. This occurs when the median nerve that provides motor and sensory innervation to the thumb and the fingers (except the little finger), as it travels through the wrist, is squeezed or compressed.
A trauma or a wrist fracture, rheumatoid arthritis, repeated use of the wrist joint without giving enough time to the muscles and tendons to rest (people working on computers and laptops for long hours), inflammation of the nerve or the tendons around it or any pathology that causes the tunnel to narrow, causing compression of the median nerve.
It is a progressive condition which can be improved if diagnosed and treated early.
A research article published in JAMA on 11th Nov, 1998 concluded that a yoga-based regimen was more effective than wrist splinting or no treatment in relieving some symptoms and signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. The article.
I have put together three easy asanas here, regular practice of which will not only help in improving CTS but will also reduce other pain conditions or any inflammation of the wrists. These could also be used to restore strength after the treatment of fractures in the distal end of the forearm, the wrist and the palms.
Please remember to check with your treating physician first to be absolutely sure that these asanas are safe for you. I have demonstrated the postures using diagrams and gif images. I hope these will help you understand how to do these asanas. These asanas are so simple that they can be performed almost anywhere, your home or outdoors. And you do not necessarily need to carry around a yoga mat either.
Standing Gomukhasana(Hand clasp at the back):
Stand in Tadasana. Erect with your back straight, your feet joined together, knee caps pulled up, tummy tucked in, shoulders rolled back, neck straight and chin parallel to the ground.
Lift your right hand up, as if to reach the sky. Bend your elbow and let the back of your right hand rest on your upper back.
Stretch your left hand outwards, bend your elbow and rest the back of your left hand on your upper back.
Gradually slide the left hand towards the right hand and clasp the fingers of both hands together.
Roll your shoulders back and keep your chest open.
Your right elbow needs to be pointed upwards, your left elbow would be pointed downwards, your spine needs to remain straight and your chin should be parallel to the floor so that you are looking horizontally at your eye level.
If you are not able to clasp your hands together, use a strap, a belt, anything that resembles a strong rope or a dupatta to keep your hands together.
Maintain the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
Release your hands, stretch them and bring back to the starting position of tadasana.
Repeat on the other side.
Practice this for 3 to 5 times each side.
2. Standing Parvatasana (Stretch with interlocked fingers)
Start in Tadasana. Lift both your hands up and interlock your fingers with your right little finger down.
Turn the hands inside out.
Lift the hands up and stretch.
Hold the posture for 20 to 30 seconds.
Bring the hands down.
Repeat the posture by changing the interlock of your fingers by keeping your left little finger down.
Practise this posture 3 to 5 times for each type of interlock.
3. Namaskar and Viparit Namaskar Asana (Namaste and inverted namaste)
Start in Tadasana.
Join your palms in namaskar with your thumb resting against your sternum (between your pectorals).
Gradually invert the namaskar so that your little finger rests against your sternum.
Keep your chest open and breath normally while practicing the posture.
Do 3 reps in sets of 10.
These asanas when done regularly will reduce the stiffness and inflammation in your wrists. Precaution is better than worrying. If you are someone whose work profile requires long work hours on the computers/ laptops or someone who needs to constantly use your wrist joint like a sportsperson or a tradesperson, you could practise these asanas to avoid the development of CTS.
Please remember that any asana should be discontinued if you feel a sharp pain while doing it. These postures are meant to provide you relief but they do not claim to be a treatment for your condition.
Any treatment requires an assessment by your physician. If the intensity of pain is more, you might need to reduce the pain using anti-inflammatories from Ayurveda or any other medicinal practice and then begin with the yogasanas again when your treating physician feels that you are good to go.
If you want to reach out to me for treatment of hand injuries, specifically when you would like to avoid a surgical intervention or you would like to know more about the therapeutic benefits of asanas, please write to email@example.com or drop in an enquiry through my website drprafullata.org.