Yoga adaptations for wrist pain relief
If you are experiencing wrist pain in your yoga practice, the causes can be many. Your wrists may already be strained or injured for a variety of reasons, only to be exacerbated by weight-bearing on your hands; something from above (i.e. shoulders and neck) may be the culprit for your wrist pain; your wrists and hands may be weak and not used to weight bearing; and so forth and so on. Or, it could just be the anatomy of your wrists. Here are 4 yoga adaptations for wrist pain relief:
1. Place your elbows—rather than your hands—under your shoulders
Ever wonder why your elbows look funny on all fours? Almost everyone’s elbows have a slight carrying-angle (5 to 15 degrees), meaning that the arms won’t go perfectly straight.
- Start by visually determining each of your elbows’ carrying angles. Standing, raise your arms straight out in front of your body to the height of your shoulders. Turn your palms up, and as best you can align your wrists with your shoulders. Are your arms completely straight, or do your elbows angle in toward one another any amount? Does one elbow have a larger carrying angle? Make a mental note.
- Then on your hands and knees in Tabletop Pose, place your hands directly under your shoulders, and play with slowly walking your hands wider until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Chances are one elbow has a larger carrying angle than the other; therefore, that hand should ultimately be placed wider.
- Once you’ve placed your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, notice if you feel more stable (perhaps with less effort) through the shoulders and arms.
2. Spin your hands outward
- The common cue of “wrist creases parallel to the front of the mat” doesn’t work for a lot of body structures. In order for the biceps to face somewhat forward and the hands to anchor evenly, the hands often need to be slightly turned out so that the wrist creases are no longer parallel but angle away from the front edge of the mat.
- Once you’ve explored the width of your hands, stacking your elbows underneath your shoulders, play with turning your hands out little by little until your biceps face fairly forward and your whole hand is anchored. Pay attention to any counterproductive sensations. There should be no pain in your wrists, elbows or shoulders.
3. Decrease the amount of extension in your wrists
- If you’re still experiencing wrist pain once you’ve widened and turned your hands out, it’s very likely your wrists just don’t like to extend to 90 degrees, and are being forced past their healthy range of motion in Tabletop or Plank Pose.
- Try walking your hands forward, slightly in front of your shoulders, lessening the angle extension demanded upon the wrists. And if that still doesn’t do the trick, get a yoga wedge to place under your palms, lifting the heels of your hands.
- Easily ordered online, a wedge is the perfect prop for wrist pain relief that don’t happily extend past a functional range of motion. (Tip: Cut your wedge in half so that you have two, one for each hand. That way you can place your hands wider than your shoulders, as well as turn them out as necessary).
4. Stop spreading your fingers wide apart
- While the cue to “spread your fingers wide” is meant to get you to engage and anchor your whole hand (and often given to prevent wrist pain), actively spreading your fingers too wide can strain your wrists. Besides some people’s fingers just don’t spread!
- If you’ve been taught to really widen your fingers apart, or claw into the mat, and are beginning to experience discomfort in your wrists, try finding the appropriate amount of activation through your fingers and hands that doesn’t place undue strain on the wrists.
Visit the link below for more information about wrist pain relief for yoga.
Common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s natural immune system “malfunctions” and begins to attack the healthy tissue lining the joints. While any joint in the body can be affected, RA often starts in the joints of the wrists and hands, progressing to other joints over time.
In the very early stages of the disease, RA can cause joint tenderness and mild stiffness that tends to fade away with movement. As the disease progresses, symptoms can include:
- redness or warmth in or around the wrist
- wrist pain, stiffness, and swelling that persists for a long period of time
- excessive joint stiffness in the morning, typically lasting for a half hour or more
- joint instability and decreased range of motion
Usually, both wrists are affected, and over time, the disease can spread to other joints.
People with RA often experience periods when their symptoms become worse, called flares or flare-ups, followed by periods of remission when symptoms lessen.
Causes and treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis swelling
RA causes the body's immune system to attack the synovium, which lines the joints. The synovium produces a fluid that helps the joints move more smoothly.
When the immune system attacks the synovium, it often results in inflammation and swelling. Sometimes inflammation of the synovium membrane leads to swelling, other times too much synovial fluid in the joints causes the problem.
If the swelling is severe, a doctor may recommend removing excess fluid from the affected joint. This procedure is called joint aspiration and is generally carried out under local anesthetic.
A doctor may also inject a substance called hydrocortisone into the joint. This is an anti-inflammatory medication that can reduce some of the symptoms that lead to swelling.
As well as these more immediate fixes, a doctor may prescribe medications to help a person control their RA.
Some people will take a combination of medications designed to prevent RA flare-ups and slow the disease's progression.
Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) method for injuries
The R.I.C.E. treatment is recommended by health professionals for the early treatment of bone injury or acute soft tissue injuries such as a sprain or strain. It can be helpful for sports injuries, closed fractures, wrist pain relief and degenerative joint problems.
- Rest is needed for the healing of injured tissue. Without rest, movement and weight bearing can continue to aggravate an injury and cause increased inflammation and swelling.
- Ice is useful for reducing pain and inflammation associated with an acute injury. Icing is believed to be most effective if done the first couple of days after the injury has occurred. You can apply ice for 20 minutes at a time and as frequently as every hour. If you prefer, apply it four to eight times a day.
- Compression of an injured or painful ankle, knee, or wrist helps to reduce the swelling. Elastic bandages are most commonly used. Special boots, air casts, and splints can serve a dual purpose of compression and support. Your doctor should make a recommendation and discuss your options.
- Elevate the injured part of the body above heart level. This provides a downward path for draining fluid back to the heart, which may reduce swelling and pain. Try to elevate the entire limb 6 to 10 inches above the heart so there is a complete downhill path. Lay down and use a pillow to help elevate the injured limb.
How to keep your wrist joints healthy
“It’s your joints that make the whole body tick,” says Douglas Comeau, D.O., director of the Boston University Sports Medicine Fellowship. But like any mechanical system, they’re prone to wear and tear.
Type of Joint: Ellipsoid. The wrist’s collection of bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage forms the body’s most complex joint. Because it’s not weight-bearing, it’ll likely provide problem-free mobility for a lifetime—unless you injure it.
Top Threat: Scaphoid fracture
What it is: A break in the scaphoid bone, one of eight small carpal bones in the wrist. (Stick out your thumb hitchhiker style: The scaphoid is under that little divot at the base of your thumb.) Scaphoid breaks account for about 70 percent of carpal fractures.
Cause: Usually falling palm down on an outstretched hand—an injury that often occurs in young men.
Treatment: A cast or splint that immobilizes the thumb for about six weeks can treat most fractures, especially close to the thumb, where there’s good blood circulation. If bones are displaced, aren’t healing, or show signs of decay due to poor blood supply, you may need surgery for wrist pain relief to align them and hold them in place with screws, pins, or wires.
Defense: If you don’t want to quit the sports most likely to break wrists—football, soccer, hockey, skiing, snowboarding, in-line skating—wear wrist guards for wrist pain relief and/or learn to tuck and roll.