Is Carpal Tunnel Treatment Without Surgery Possible With Yoga? 4 Exercises For Wrist Pain

Approximately 5% of the population will be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives. Many are looking for carpal tunnel treatment without surgery due to the risks of surgery and the effectiveness of non-surgical options.

Since yoga requires the use of your wrists while in many of the postures, including the right exercises for wrist pain during your practice can start to relieve the pressure on the nerve that is causing your carpal tunnel pain.

Carpal Tunnel Treatment Without Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Treatment Without Surgery
Carpal tunnel treatment without surgery.

Due to the increased amount of people spending countless hours on computers and cell phones, carpal tunnel syndrome has seen a huge rise in recent years. Just like how my chronic lower back pain started from sitting in a computer chair for a majority of the day, I can now thank computers once again for my carpal tunnel and wrist pain.

I’ve never been comfortable with the thought of surgery so when I started practicing yoga and my hands started going numb after a while I started searching frantically for a way to relieve the pain. Like all other pains that have been building up over years, carpal tunnel syndrome was not going to be easy to get rid of.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your wrist is inflamed, causing it to pinch the nerve and cause pain or numbness in your hand and fingers. Starting a regular yoga routine will allow your wrists to get stronger and the carpal ligaments to become looser, opening up space around the nerve that is causing your pain.

4 Exercises For Wrist Pain

Attempting to practice yoga with wrist pain can sometimes be too much if the swelling in the carpal tunnel has gotten really bad.

If you are looking for a carpal tunnel treatment without surgery then I recommend doing the below exercises for wrist pain at least once a day.

1. Seated Wrist Stretch

  • In a seated position place both palms on the ground beside you.
  • Rotate your wrists so your fingers are pointed away from your back and slowly begin lean back.
  • Once you get to the point where it hurts if you keep leaning back, hold that position for a few breaths. 
  • Release your hands and place the backs of your hands on the ground, fingers still pointed away from your back.
  • Begin to lean back the same way you did before and hold for a few breaths.

2. Complete Hand Release

  • Either standing or sitting, stretch one arm out in front of you with your palm facing outwards.
  • Grab your fingers with your other hand and slowly pull your hand backwards towards your forearm.
  • Once your wrist feels loose start to pull each finger one-by-one towards you.
  • When you get to your thumb, press the thumb of your opposite hand deep into the space right under the thumb you are stretching.
  • Massage this space for a few breaths while slowly adding pressure then release.
Exercises For Wrist Pain
Exercises for wrist pain.

3. Gorilla Pose

  • From a standing position place your feet about hips width apart.
  • Begin to lean forward with your hands reaching towards your feet while keeping a bend in your knees.
  • Place your hands underneath your feet so your toes rest on the creases of your wrists.
  • Gently start to straighten your legs as much as you can while putting slight pressure on your wrist creases with your toes.
  • Hold for a few breaths and then release.

4. Standing Wall Wrist Stretch

  • While standing and facing a wall extend both arms straight out in front of you and place your palms on the wall, fingers facing upwards.
  • Slowly begin to try and get your palms to touch the wall by leaning into the stretch a little bit.
  • After a few breaths turn your hands so your fingers are facing the ground and once again try to get your palms to touch the wall.
  • You might need to slightly bend your elbows to get the most of this stretch.

Find Relief From The Pain Today!

Finding relief from carpal tunnel syndrome can be very frustrating and painful at times. As much as I try not to focus on my wrist pain during my yoga practice it never fails to present itself if I’ve been on my wrists a lot during my practice.

I’ve found making a fist and using your knuckles is a great way to modify your hand position if the pain becomes too much. Even though the pain and numbness is still there at times, I’ve noticed a drastic change since I’ve regularly been exercising my wrists and practicing yoga.

How do you deal with your carpal tunnel pain?

Stick With It!

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  1. Brandy

    I never thought of yoga for carpal tunnel. I recently read that a study has found that migraines may be a pre-cursor for carpal tunnel. I am a chronic migraine sufferer, so I have been trying everything I can to protect my wrists.

    Unfortunately, as I spend more hours on the computer, I notice the pain and numbness starting to approach. I have been doing a couple wrist exercises regularly, but you provide a couple more options that I will most certainly be trying.

    I have been wanting to try yoga for a long time. I think this is a great motivation to get me going. Thank you!

    1. yoga (Post author)

      That’s really interesting that migraines could be caused by carpal tunnel, I never knew that! It makes sense though since the nerves run through our entire body.

      If you already have some wrist issues then definitely make sure you get a good stretch in your wrists before you try to practice yoga. Yoga requires the use of the wrists and can inflame your carpal tunnel but consistent pressure will loosen and strengthen your wrists overtime.

  2. adam

    These are great exercises for those of us who sit at a computer all day. I have never had to experience the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, as of yet.

    Do you think these exercises are a good preventative measure to avoid this ailment?

    Yoga is a great practice. I go to my local studio once a week and I always come away feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Thanks for sharing these useful yoga exercises.

    ~ Adam

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Stretching all parts of your body, even your wrists, is always a good way to prevent future injury or pain. If you wait until you start experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms like I did then it’s going to be an uphill battle from there. Yoga is a fantastic way to start stretching and strengthening all of your muscles and joints. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Daniella

    Hi there,

    I found your article very helpful and interesting, I was absorbed by the reading!
    Since I started to work on a computer I am having a lot of problems with nerves, I have a lot of pain in my fingers and my arms and the exercises on your post are absolutely fantastic. This is what I was looking for!
    Thank you very much for this helpful post:)

    1. yoga (Post author)

      Hi Daniella!
      I’m glad you found these stretches to be useful in your own life! Wrist pain is sometimes unavoidable if you work on a computer so making sure to keep your wrists stretched out will help prevent future pain. Thanks for the comment!


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