Context.— Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common complication of repetitive activities
and causes significant morbidity.
Objective.— To determine the effectiveness of a yoga-based regimen for relieving
symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Design.— Randomized, single-blind, controlled trial.
Setting.— A geriatric center and an industrial site in 1994-1995.
Patients.— Forty-two employed or retired individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome
(median age, 52 years; range, 24-77 years).
Intervention.— Subjects assigned to the yoga group received a yoga-based intervention
consisting of 11 yoga postures designed for strengthening, stretching, and
balancing each joint in the upper body along with relaxation given twice weekly
for 8 weeks. Patients in the control group were offered a wrist splint to
supplement their current treatment.
Main Outcome Measures.— Changes from baseline to 8 weeks in grip strength, pain intensity, sleep
disturbance, Phalen sign, and Tinel sign, and in median nerve motor and sensory
Results.— Subjects in the yoga groups had significant improvement in grip strength
(increased from 162 to 187 mm Hg; P =.009) and pain
reduction (decreased from 5.0 to 2.9 mm; P =.02),
but changes in grip strength and pain were not significant for control subjects.
The yoga group had significantly more improvement in Phalen sign (12 improved
vs 2 in control group; P =.008), but no significant
differences were found in sleep disturbance, Tinel sign, and median nerve
motor and sensory conduction time.
Conclusion.— In this preliminary study, a yoga-based regimen was more effective than
wrist splinting or no treatment in relieving some symptoms and signs of carpal