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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Yoga As Exercise

Yoga has many health benefits, but there is a growing trend of yoga-related physical injuries and many physical therapists view yoga negatively. Unfortunately, these concerns are well justified. A lot of myth surrounds yoga asana practice: many people believe that asanas can somehow heal anything wrong with the body. Claims that regular muscle or joint pain from yoga practice is some kind of ‘opening’ or ‘healing’ should be treated with suspicion. Continue reading

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

Winging Shoulder-blades From Vinyasa Practice

The Scapulae are held close to the chest wall by the Serratus Anterior muscle. When this muscle is weak, the shoulder blades will lift off of the back, giving the appearance of wings. When this occurs on one side only, it is usually as a result of injury to the shoulder or chest wall, or damage to the nerves in the neck and should be assessed and treated by a qualified professional. Continue reading

Clicking Shoulders and Elbows with Vinyasa-Yoga Practice

Sometimes yogis whose practise incorporates a lot of vinyasa complain of clicking sounds in the shoulders and elbows, and even a restriction of motion in the elbows in some positions. Other unpleasant shoulder symptoms can include a pinching sensation between the shoulder blades, near the base of the neck, especially when doing head or handstands, or tingling or numbness in the fingers. Continue reading

Shoulders and Vinyasa-Yoga Injury

If you practise Ashtanga, or any other form of vinyasa yoga, Chaturanga is repeated many times. This asana strengthens the chest muscles and Latissimus Dorsi considerably, and many teachers tell students that shoulders and elbows must be in a straight line to protect the Rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. Continue reading

Shoulder Flexibility with Yoga

Shoulder flexibility is usually very difficult for men to achieve. Unlike with hips, male and female shoulder structure differs only in size, and women mostly struggle to develop upper body strength, while men cannot get their elbows behind their ears. Strong women usually have similar inflexibilities to men and this is often related to differences in strength between chest muscles, Latissimus Dorsi and the rotator cuff, as well as posture. Continue reading