Yoga and Arthritis

Several reports on Arthritis indicate that there is a steep increase in the number of people getting affected with Arthritis every year. Statistics reveals that more than two million people in the age group of thirty to fifty years are being afflicted with Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) and Osteoarthritis(OA) every year. This number is expected to double in the next two decades.

In people with OA, the cartilage which is made of protein, sugar and water begins to degenerate and finally breaks down. When the cartilage that is more like a shock absorber breaks down, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain. When left without exercise, the tendons and muscles get even weaker and gets even more prone to breakage. When such damage continues, it would lead to knee inflammation and loss of movement.

Yoga relieves muscle tension and improves flexibility and strength. Each stretch or posture in yoga when combined with breathing exercise, works on the entire body. For instance, in OA patients, the muscle round the knees tends to get stronger with regular practice of certain postures. This helps the individuals in using their legs more comfortably, and as the pressure on the cartilage gets eased, it gets healed better. Yoga has several exercises that benefit the knees in particular.

Due to the positive influence of yoga in relieving stress, patients with OA and RA will begin to develop positive feelings of well being. Though modern medicines have improved to a remarkable extent in treating OA and RA through drugs, there is plenty of evidence that good medical care when combined with yoga has shown remarkable improvement in their condition.

But when patients with arthritis experience pain during yoga practice, they should stop the practice immediately. While doing postures such as backbends, patients with arthritis should not over do the neck extension and should make sure that the head is in line with the spine, and should in particular take care to be gentle with the practice. It has also been suggested that some specific exercises meant for strengthening the muscles of quadriceps are not recommended for OA patients. In case, patients suffering from Arthritis, experiences pain after yoga practice, a doctor or instructor should be consulted.

Add a Comment