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 strength.
The postures used in the program
- 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 upward.
- 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
- 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 spine in.
- 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.
From "Yoga-based 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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