Health and Nutrition / Yoga Injuries / Yoga Musings

Wrist Pain – Nutritional/Dietary Solutions?

As a follow-up to my recent post about wrist pain, I’d like to share some additional measures I have taken in order to combat the pain, soreness, throbbing in my wrists. Again, my aim here is merely to describe my own experience, and I do not intend to prescribe solutions for or diagnose the particular cases of others.

At the recommendation of one of my teachers, I began taking Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements. I’ve been taking this supplement in both pill form and liquid form, in order to increase the chances that it is actually being absorbed and synthesized by my body. Supposedly, Glucosamine Chondroitin helps to regenerate connective tissue in and between the joints. It is a supplement that is often given to horses and dogs with joint problems and to people with arthritis. It’s also taken by “high performance” athletes who wear and tear and abuse their bodies in ways that are not natural.

I take it that the yoga practice, especially one that involves lots of inversions, handstands, arm balances, etc., is not a natural activity. Although it is weird to think of myself as a “high performance” athlete, a physically demanding Vinyasa Flow yoga practice does indeed put demands on the body that are way beyond its natural abilities and disposition. (For more information, here’s an interesting article about Glucosamine Chondroitin and its benefits for athletes.)

In addition to Glucosamine Chondroitin, I’ve also been taking Arnica, both internally and externally. I add a few drops of Arnica oil to my drinks during the day, and I apply a topical arnica cream to my wrists as well. Arnica, as I understand it, is derived from a plant and acts as a strong anti-inflammatory. It does nothing, however, to rebuild or strengthen parts of the body that may have been damaged by, say, one too many handstands.

Finally, I’ve tried to increase calcium in my diet, and I’ve been increasingly concerned with getting highly bioavailable forms of calcium – i.e. forms of calcium that your body can actually make use of. My understanding is that calcium citrate is the most highly bioavailable form of calcium. Calcium carbonate, which seems to be the most common form in calcium supplements, is supposed to be less bioavailable. And the other forms of calcium which are often found in “fortified” juices, soy milks, almond milks, rice milks, etc., seem to be even less bioavailable.

Again, I’m no doctor, so chances are I have no idea what I’m talking about here. So I don’t recommend that any readers of this blog take my ideas here to be authoritative in any way. But, since so many yogis – teachers and students alike – seem to suffer from wrist problems, I thought it might be of at least anecdotal interest to share some additional measures I have taken to deal with my own wrist issues.

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