eases pain of carpal tunnel syndrome
A simple yoga program -- no
drugs, no expensive equipment and no surgery -- was better than
conventional treatment at reducing pain and improving the hand strength
of patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, according to a new study at
the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
Common among computer users,
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a potentially debilitating nerve disorder of
the hand usually caused by repetitive motion, like typing. It results
from pressure on the median nerve, which controls sensations in the
thumb, index and middle fingers. The condition can be so painful that
many sufferers cannot use their affected hand.
The randomized, single
blind, controlled study included a yoga group and a group who only
received wrist splints, the most common form of treatment. The yoga
group took a 1.5 hour class twice a week. They performed simple
postures designed to take each joint of the upper body through its full
range of motion, stretching, strengthening and aligning the hands,
wrists, arms and shoulders. After eight weeks, the yoga group had
significantly less pain and greater hand strength, whereas the control
group experienced no significant reduction in pain or increase in hand
The postures used in the
- Staff pose (dandasana) --
sit on chair, trunk upright, press hands into chair, press shoulder
baldes into back, move shoulders back and down.
- Prayer position -- press
palms and fingers together, stretch and bend fingers.
- Arms overhead (urdhva
hastasana) -- Lift arms over head, keep arms straight and shoulders down
- Arms overhead, fingers
interlocked (parvatasana) -- Same as above, clasp fingers, turn palms
- Chair twist -- sit
sideways in chair with right side against back of chair. Place hands on
back of chair, twist to the right using hands for additional support.
Repeat on other side.
- Mountain (tadasana) --
see Posture Page.
- 90 degree forward bend to
wall -- Stand with feet about hip width apart, raise arms over head,
bend at hips bringing hands to rest on wall.
- Arms overhead with hands
in prayer position -- Stand in tadasana, raise arms to Tee position,
urn palms up, then rotate arms in small circles, first forward then
back. Lift arms straight overhead, join hands in prayer position,
stretch up and look up at hands.
- Dog pose with chair --
Stand, feet hip width apart, facing the seat of a chair. Bend, placing
palms on seat, shoulder width apart. Straighten arms and lift waist,
hips and knees a few inches above the chair. Turn arms out and crve
trunk back between them. Bring coccyx, sacrum and lumbar spine forward,
keeping buttocks tight. Stetch front of body from the pubis. Raise
sternum and ribs. Hold shoulders back. Press shoulder blades and dorsal
- Hands in prayer behind
back -- Stand in tadasana, bring palms together behind back, fingers
pointing up down. Turn fingers up and raise as high as possible between
the shoulder blades.
Each posture should
be held for about 30 seconds.
intervention for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A randomized trial," by M.
Garfinkel, A. Singhal, W. Katz, et al, in The Journal of the American
Medical Association, November 11, 1998.
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