Nerve compression in the neck, shoulders and wrists from yoga practice

It is quite common for yogis, particularly women, to develop wrist pain and numbness or tingling in the whole hand or individual fingers, either when they are doing arm balances or Chaturanga or at night if they sleep with arms raised above the head although these sensations subside if the arm is placed alongside the body. Such symptoms should be taken very seriously if the numbness becomes constant because nerve compression causes weakness or even paralysis of the muscles in the hands.

Clear-cut medical diagnosis of nerve compression symptoms is often difficult and controversial. Wrist pain is frequently diagnosed as Carpal tunnel syndrome (Median nerve compression); however, nerve compression and pain caused by yoga originates in postural problems and imbalance in the muscles of the arm, neck or shoulders, not just the wrists. Continue reading

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Neck and Shoulder Pain in Yoga Practice

Problems in the Trapezius muscle are a major cause of neck and upper back pain. Although it is quite common to be told to relax the upper Trapezius and draw the shoulder blades down the back to avoid tension in the neck, many yoga practitioners do experience neck pain and tension, especially after vinyasa practices or from Pincha Mayurasana and handstands. Continue reading

Neck Strengthening with Yoga

There are various ways to strengthen the neck in yoga but it’s important for women to bear in mind that they have relatively small upper bodies and their necks are often not as strong as men’s are, so they are more prone to neck injury – this does not mean that women cannot develop upper body and neck strength, only that they need to be patient and practise neck and shoulder strengthening regularly. A gung-ho attitude on the part of students or teachers will lead to injury. Continue reading

Neck Pain from the Hips

Posture affects our necks negatively when there is anterior or posterior pelvic tilt because the spinal curves are altered and the head is carried in a forward position. The muscle at the front of the neck, the Sternocleidomastoideus (SCM) shortens and the shoulder girdle rounds and shifts forward, exaggerating the curvature of the upper back. Continue reading