Cube dwellers, gamers or just about anyone spending time typing on their computer or phone can experience strain and pain in the wrists. Luckily, there are options such as stretching to alleviate symptoms without having to use medication or go under the knife.
To find out how to do so, we spoke to Gwen Lawrence of Power Yoga For Sports. Lawrence developed a yoga training method specific to the needs of athletes. Her approach is designed to help athletes perform better when on the field. She's worked with clients in the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL.
In our interview with Lawrence, she explains five yoga postures that may provide relief from carpal tunnel syndrome. According to Lawrence, it commonly causes pain, numbness, tingling or stiffness in and around the narrow passageway of bones and ligaments on the underside of the wrist. The increased use of both computers and smartphones has contributed to more of Lawrence's clients experiencing the condition.
"The carpal tunnel contains tendons and a nerve known as the median nerve. When those tendons become thickened or irritated (often due to repetitive finger and hand use), the median nerve gets compressed and symptoms flare up," says Lawrence. "Practicing yoga postures can relieve the symptoms and actually prevent them."
Lawrence offers the following five yoga postures as methods of stretching and strengthening the affected areas.
Sit on a chair, keeping your trunk upright. Press your hands down into the seat of the chair, while moving your shoulder blades back and down against the back of the chair.
Press your palms and fingers together in front of your collarbone, bending and stretching your fingers.
90-degree forward bend to wall
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart facing a wall, keeping your body an arm's length from the wall. Raise your arms up and overhead. Bend forward, moving from the hips, bringing your hands to rest on the wall.
Start on your hands and knees, maintaining your wrists directly underneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. First, slowly turn each hand out 90 degrees, taking several breath cycles while feeling the stretch. Next, externally turn each hand 180 degrees until your fingers point backward and take several breaths.
After opening up your wrists with the previous poses, this will enable you to start to build strength in them. Get into the top of a push-up position, keeping your wrists and hands directly under your shoulders, while your legs are extended back and parallel to one another. Hold for several seconds; as you build strength, hold the posture longer.
Photo: Tristan Schmurr | Flickr