Yoga for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Wrist Pain - Sweatbox

Yoga offers many benefits for your physical, spiritual, and mental being. But did you know that it can also prevent injury and help cure certain conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)?

The condition can get worse when you don’t do anything about it. It affects the wrist joints and causes pain in the wrist.

Depending on its gravity, it may lead to difficulties moving your forearms or fingertips. You don’t have to go to the doctor at its earlier stages, but you have to learn what wrist stretches to do for the affected arm.

This guide will brief you about what you need to know about the condition and what yoga poses you can adopt as part of your therapy.

What is CTS?

CTS is a specific diagnosis often discussed with the general description; it falls under wrist pain. It’s a kind of wrist pain that needs more than wrist stretch to correct and cure.

CTS and wrist pain have interrelated factors. The pain in the wrist manifests in the various parts of the hand, such as the index finger, other fingers, fingertips, palms, or forearms.

By identifying the toots of the pain, you will have an idea of where the pain is coming from. You may have the condition in one wrist on either your right arm or left arm, or in some cases, in both wrists.

Your wrist joint has a palmar side. This is where the medial nerve and several tendons pass. This side has a small passageway where the median nerve can be trapped, resulting in CTS.

The discomfort or pain resulting from CTS is due to the tendons’ inflammation. This puts pressure on the nerve so that you will feel the effects on the wrists and surrounding parts of the affected hand.

The pain also results in pressure on the ulnar nerve. This leads to hand and wrist pain, specifically in the fourth and last fingers.

The treatment for CTS depends on the cause and its gravity. If you experience persistent pain and wrist tenderness, you can alleviate the pain using ice. You can also take ginger, turmeric, and other foods with anti-inflammatory agents.

Some people also wear splints while sleeping to counter the pain caused by CTS. You may be unaware of how you flex your wrists while you’re in a deep sleep. As a result, your wrists bear the weight of your upper body and feel the pressure as you toss and turn.

You only get alerted and start assessing the movement and dynamics of posture involved once you have experienced repetitive stress injuries. This will encourage you to stop or reduce repetitive actions.

This is where yoga can help. Your yoga teacher will modify the yoga poses and energetic actions to apply the right pressure on your wrists.

Your yoga poses will include exercises benefitting the arms and shoulders, your fingertips, fingers, palms, and your right or left hand. They can also ask you to use props in some yoga poses to minimize the pressure on your arms and wrists.

In some instances, when the pain becomes unbearable, or you are suffering from other chronic conditions besides CTS, you may be required to seek professional medical help.

Learning about the Basic Wrist Therapy

When you go to a yoga class, your teacher will talk about your wrist pain and CTS. This way, they can design poses that can address mild wrist pain and related problems.

They can begin or end each session with a warm-up or cool-down exercise for the shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, and fingers. They can also recommend forearm and wrist massages to reduce pain.

Here’s a look at the basic wrist therapy techniques you can do in dealing with mild wrist pain:

Hand Dance

Kneel on the floor and make sure you’re comfortable. Place each hand flat on the mat with your fingers facing forward.

Gently pull your hands and move to position the palms facing up. This is where the dancing of the hands will reflect. Position the palms facing down, extend the fingers, then pull them back in.

Continue with the sequence – palms facing up, down, fingers forward, pulled back, and then in and out.

Phalen’s Test

You will do this in a comfortable seated position. Extend your arms to stretch, then after a few breaths, bring your two hands toward your body and let them meet at the heart center.

Slowly bend your hands while keeping the arms straight until the backs of your hands and wrists meet. Apply pressure as you push each hand toward the other.

Do this for one minute as you practice deep breathing.

Reverse Phalen’s Test or Anjali Mudra

Like the Phalen’s Test, you will do Anjali Mudra in a seated position. Stretch your arms and bring them in a prayer position in your chest area, ensuring that your fingertips and knuckles meet.

Hold the prayer position pose for up to two minutes. If you feel pain or a burning sensation in the joints of your wrists 30 minutes into the exercise, this could mean that you have CTS.

Wrist Pumps

Sit comfortably on the mat as you practice deep breathing. Place the fingers of your hand over the fingers of the other hand and hold.

Sway the wrist back and front as you use the opposite hand to resist the movement. Continue for two minutes if not painful. Stop the exercise when you feel pain in your wrists, fingers, fingertips, palms, or hands.

Uttanasana Pratikriyasana for the Wrist

You can break into this while performing yoga postures, such as Sun Salutations. Fold into Uttanasana pose, and put your hands on the floor.

Position the back of your wrists with an inward or upward bound fingers pose. With the back of your wrists onto or toward the floor, gently move your hands to form fists.

Tadasana Therapy for the Wrist

Kneel on the floor with your hips and upper legs touching your lower legs and toes. Breathe deeply as you position each arm on the sides.

Lift your hands, and rotate the wrists in a circular manner. Count to 15, then rotate the other way around. Shake your wrists for 30 seconds before repeating the sequence.

You can do this wrist therapy before or after performing yoga poses. This will warm up or cool down your arms, muscles, toes, shoulders, and body.

Benefits of Table Top Pose Wrist Stretch

Whether you have a CTS or are only looking for wrist stretch yoga postures, it will help you deal with wrist pain when you practice Table Top Pose or Bharmanasana Wrist Stretch as a warm-up or cool down to any exercise.

You can make it a preparatory pose to yoga styles, such as Crow Pose, Plank Pose, Wheel Pose, Foot Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Gorilla Pose, and Cow Face Pose. You only have to gently pull on your muscles and joints when doing yoga movements.

Wrist stretch actions require pressure but stop when the movements become painful. Perform them in repetitive motions and do the steps in the opposite direction.

The exercises, along with yoga, will help prevent wrist injuries. Your physical therapist will agree that a Cow Face Pose, Downward Dog, and other yoga postures will improve wrist strength and provide proper care for your body, muscles, palms, fingers, arms, hips, feet, and toes.

Yoga and wrist stretch exercises offer the following benefits:

Therapy and Healing

Your yoga teacher can make this a part of your therapy yoga sequence if you are recovering from a wrist injury. Wrist stretch comes in many variations that can help relieve pains in your wrists, palms, arms, and fingers.

Repetitive Motions and Desk Work

The practice will benefit those who engage in repetitive activities, such as students who use their computers for long hours. They can perform wrist stretch exercises to work on their deeper tissues and tight muscles.


Wrist stretch movements can help women suffering from hormone imbalances. They include those who are in their menopausal stage and pregnant women.

Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel

The movements can help deal with issues related to the arms, wrists, and elbows. The stretching actions can help in relieving carpal tunnel and arthritis. Remember to follow your yoga teacher intently to make the movements properly and safely.

Athletes and Sports

Since those who are active in sports constantly use their shoulders, wrists, and arms, they can benefit from performing the exercises to warm up or cool down their wrist joints and tissues.

Final Words

You don’t have to seek immediate medical help when you have CTS, especially when it’s only beginning and the pain is still manageable. In this case, you may want to learn more about yoga and how it can help relieve the discomfort caused by the condition.

For the best yoga classes Singapore, Sweatbox has all you need to learn the practice and find out how the activity can help you deal with CTS. We have the experience and the best teachers who will guide you on how to perform yoga best suited for your flexibility and overall health.

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.