FoundHealth is created by contributors like you!   edit Edit   comments Comments
wheel

2 people worked on this article:

sshowalter FoundHealth
Print
Share
         

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Yoga

Read more about Yoga.

Overview

Hatha yoga, or, as it is commonly called in the US, simply “yoga,” is an exercise system derived from ancient traditions in India. There are many schools or varieties of hatha yoga, but all of them involve “asanas,” or postures. Many asanas function as gentle stretching exercises, increasing flexibility. Others encourage the development of strength and balance.

Effect of Yoga on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hatha yoga, a system of stretching and balancing exercises, has been tried for carpal tunnel syndrome, and some have found it to be very helpful in mitigating the pain associated with carpal tunnel, as well as perhaps helping to treat the underlying cause of the condition by helping to strengthen the wrist(s).

Research Evidence on Yoga

In one study, 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome were randomly assigned to receive either yoga instruction or a wrist splint for a period of 8 weeks.6 The results indicated that yoga was more effective than the wrist splint.

However, this study has a serious flaw: participants in the control group were simply offered the wrist splint and given the choice of using it or not. It would have been preferable for them to have received phony yoga postures to test the treatment in a standard scientifically experimental way. Experience from numerous studies shows that when people believe they are receiving an effective treatment, they report improvement, regardless of the nature of the treatment.

This particular instance shows some of the challenges of testing for the efficacy of complementary, alternative and integrative treatment options (like hatha yoga) in the traditional scientific method. For traditional medical treatment that had one mechanism of action (like, for example, a certain pharmaceutical drug) it makes sense to test this by ruling out all other possible confounds. However, for multi-faceted treatments like yoga (which includes stretching, breathing, meditation, relaxation, aerobic, anaerobic, instruction etc. - all components that might aid in successfully treating the condition) it is difficult to fit them into the limited scientific framework. Science will soon need to evolve so that it can include the study of these complex treatments.

Side Effects and Warnings

#Safety Issues

Hatha yoga is generally at least as safe as any other stretching-based exercise program. However there are a few hatha yoga positions, such as the headstand, that can cause injury when they are performed by a person who isn’t yet sufficiently advanced in yoga, or who has certain health problems, such as a detached retina. A properly qualified instructor can help you avoid injury, taking your own individual health status into account.

References

  1. Stransky M, Rubin A, Lava NS, et al. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with vitamin B6: a double-blind study. South Med J. 1989;81:841-842.
  1. Ellis JM, Kishi T, Azuma J, et al. Vitamin B6 deficiency in patients with a clinical syndrome including the carpal tunnel defect. Biochemical and clinical response to therapy with pyridoxine. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol. 1976;13:743-757.
  1. Franzblau A, Rock CL, Werner RA, et al. The relationship of vitamin B6 status to median nerve function and carpal tunnel syndrome among active industrial workers. J Occup Environ Med. 1996;38:485-491.
  1. Stransky M, Rubin A, Lava NS, et al. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with vitamin B6: a double-blind study. South Med J. 1989;81:841-842.
  1. Spooner GR, Desai HB, Angel JF, et al. Using pyridoxine to treat carpal tunnel syndrome . Can Fam Physician . 1993;39:2122-2127.
  1. Garfinkel MS, Singhal A, Katz WA, et al. Yoga-based intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized trial. JAMA. 1998;280:1601-1603.
  1. Carter R, Hall T, Aspy CB, et al. Effectiveness of magnet therapy for treatment of writs pain attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome. J Fam Pract. 2002;51:38-40.
  1. Jeffrey SLA, Belcher HJCR. Use of arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery. Altern Ther Health Med. 2002;8:66-68.
  1. Hui AC, Wong S, Leung CH, Tong P, et al. A randomized controlled trial of surgery vs steroid injection for carpal tunnel syndrome. Neurology. 2005;64:2074-2078.
  1. Ly-Pen D, Andreu JL, de Blas G, et al. Surgical decompression versus local steroid injection in carpal tunnel syndrome: a one-year, prospective, randomized, open, controlled clinical trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2005;52:612-619.
  1. Sato Y, Honda Y, Iwamoto J, et al. Amelioration by mecobalamin of subclinical carpal tunnel syndrome involving unaffected limbs in stroke patients. J Neurol Sci. 2005;231:13-18.
  1. Irvine J, Chong SL, Amirjani N, et al. Double-blind randomized controlled trial of low-level laser therapy in carpal tunnel syndrome. Muscle Nerve. 2004;30:182-187.
  1. Colbert AP, Markov MS, Carlson N, Gregory WL, Carlson H, Elmer PJ. Static magnetic field therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome: a feasibility study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010;91(7):1098-1104.
  1. Carter R, Aspy CB, Mold J. The effectiveness of magnet therapy for treatment of wrist pain attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome. J Fam Pract. 2002;51(1):38-40.

Preview