In modern life, people are often working on laptops and using smartphones. Because of this, there can be a lack of rest for your hands. This often leads to the tissues inside your carpal tunnel to swell, which blocks the median nerve in your wrist, which is responsible for the finger movement. Carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway through which muscle tendons and the median nerve pass through. Issues with your Carpal tunnel, more commonly referred to as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, can be uncomfortable, and get in the way of day to day tasks. Fortunately, there are specific yoga poses and general areas of your body to target in your yoga practice, for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that will help to heal it naturally.
It might seem unrelated at first glance, but the neck has a connection with the wrist. Opening the neck can bring real relief.
Find a seated position on the ground, make your neck feel long and have your arms by your side. Now slowly move your head to the right side and pull down your left shoulder, so that you feel the stretch below your neck. Then in this pose, move your head from front to back slowly and feel the shift of your neck, target different areas to open in your neck stretch. Don’t overdo it, to be sure you don’t feel any pain while doing this stretch. Be sure to do this stretch on both sides.
These are more obvious, but there are several stretches of the wrist, that can be highly effective in alleviating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. From tabletop position, there are two simple stretches that help. The first is to come into a regular tabletop position, and then turn your fingers backward, so that your inner elbow faces more outwards and your five fingers now point towards your knees and your palms are still face down on the mat. From here, simply shift your hips back until you feel a nice opening in your wrist. Stay there and breathe for 5 breaths. Come back to neutral and shake out your wrists. The other variation from tabletop position is to take the tops of your hands onto the mat, with your fingers pointing towards your knees. Also from here, begin to shift your hips back until you feel a healthy edge in the pose, and breathe.
Another simple stretch of your fingers also helps. Bring your right hand forward with the fingers pointing in the upward direction. Lock your elbow such that it doesn’t move. Now cover the four fingers with the fingers of your left hand and stretch them backwards while breathing out. Make sure your elbows are locked, and shoulders are down. Now bring back the fingers to their original position and do this on the other side. You can also do this stretch, pulling back one finger at a time (instead of all at once).
Arm and Shoulders Stretches with the Strap
Stretching your shoulders and arms can also be helpful in healing conditions in your wrists. They are all very connected. This simple posture with the strap opens many of the meridians and muscle groups in the arms and shoulders, which can also bring relief to your wrists. Grab your strap and place your hands several feet apart, and raise your arms above your head. Make sure your elbows are straightened. Now, let your shoulders drop away from your ears in the backward direction, until you feel the stretch in your shoulders, as well as in your chest. Take relaxed breaths.
Locust Pose: (Salabhasana): Strengthen Your Trapezius Muscles
The trapezius muscle is at your back that spreads from neck to the middle of your back. Making it stronger can help make you less susceptible to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Locust pose is an excellent choice to strengthen these muscles. To do Locust, lie down on your stomach with your forehead on the mat. There are many variations you can do with the arms, but they all strengthen these muscles. For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the variation with your hands interlaces on your lower back, is particularly helpful. To do the pose, interlace your hands behind your sacrum, and lift both your strong legs and chest and head, up and off the mat. Squeeze your first together and draw your hands towards your heels, and breathe.
Downward Facing Dog: Strengthen Your Arms
There are many arm stretches, both in yoga postures (Downward Facing Dog) and fitness exercises to make your arms and upper body stronger. Downward Dog is a classic and also a powerful one to make your arms stronger. This pose also targets your wrists. Be sure to put more weight into your fingertips than the base of your wrist to maximize the benefits and prevent further strain on your wrists. Generally, our day to day activities also imparts strain on your wrists. Alongside yoga, do your best to be sure you don’t strain them too much during your days. Taking breaks when you’re working hours at the computer, or implementing some of these stretches throughout your day, can help.
If you’re suffering from any discomfort from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, take solace that there are real things you can do to heal. Yoga and different physical stretching and strengthening exercises, like the ones above, can provide both long and short term relief.