Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints the cause pain and stiffness and worsens with age.
Arthritis does not discriminate and can happen to anyone at any age. It can be caused by injury or occur as you become older.
If you suffer from arthritis, then you know how difficult it can be to get around from day-to-day. Working out or any form of exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind. But, the real question is, does yoga help arthritis and joint pain?
Can Yoga Cure Arthritis and Joint Pain?
No, yoga doesn’t cure arthritis and joint pain. However, yoga is one of the best exercises for someone who suffers from arthritis and would still love to workout.
Many styles of yoga are considered gentle and most if not all poses can be modified to fit the individual’s needs. Yoga can help in the reduction of tension in the joints as well as improved joint flexibility.
The many breathing techniques which require one to focus on their breath can assist individuals if they experience pain on a frequent basis.
Yoga is a practice that aims to connect the mind, body, and soul as one and while the actual pain may not decrease or even go away, the way individuals look at the pain and how they deal with it differently going forward.
Yoga also provides an opportunity for people to stretch because we often do not stretch enough in our lives. We are always on the go and feel as though we do not have to stretch.
Stiff joints that occur as a result of individuals developing arthritis should be stretched to help deal with the pain that comes with it.
When you begin to practice yoga consistently you start to develop a relationship with your own body. You begin to understand what your body needs and why your body needs certain poses.
Often times when individuals experience pain, the needs of their bodies can become lost in their pain. A consistent yoga practice opens your ears, and your heart to listening to the needs of your body and you can act accordingly.
Yoga is an excellent option for individuals who suffer from arthritis to do on a daily basis.
It can be gentle and you can modify most if not all poses and you begin to become more in-tuned with your body and are able to give your body exactly what it needs.
Does Yoga Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is the severe and frequent inflammation of the joints in the hands and feet. Yoga styles that are considered gentle are an excellent choice for individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis.
The thought of moving the body and twisting your joints may sound incredibly painful, but it can actually be extremely helpful.
Certain yoga poses increases flexibility and strength in the joints which in turn may allow the pain in your joints to be managed on a different level.
Yoga can help with rheumatoid arthritis by building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, promoting better balance, reducing body aches and pains, creating a better sense of well-being and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.
If you would like to begin a consistent yoga practice, please consult your doctor. Research and attend a class that is right for you.
Let the yoga instructor know if you experience any type of pain during class as soon as it occurs and try to avoid any poses that put the neck in compressing position because of the neck being a soft spot for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Best Yoga Poses to Help with Arthritis
Choosing the correct yoga practice coupled with the proper poses to help with arthritis is extremely important.
Having knowledge of which poses work best for individuals with arthritis and poses that do not work is also extremely important because you do not want to cause even more pain.
Breathing techniques that are present in yoga can help as well because the technique improves chest expansion.
1. Sun Salutations
This pose allows you to connect to your mind, body, and soul by way of breath through movement. An improvement of flexibility and stretching of the spine is an amazing benefit of this pose.
Stand straight with your feet together, palm touching in front of your chest by your heart. Exhale your arms towards the ceiling and behind your body backward with your arms above your head, fold your body forward, place your hands on the ground and one by one place your leg back straight then fold your body forward like a tent and breathe.
Come down with your legs touching the ground but having your upper body off the ground and back bend as far as you can. Each movement is a breath. Stay in this pose for a few breaths.
2. Child’s Pose and Child’s Pose Plus
This pose stretches your lower back and improves flexibility and stretching of the spine and hip flexors.
Carefully sit on your knees then bend your body forward and place your hands behind your back or by your side and just breathe.
Another way to do this pose is to have your knees wide opened. Pick the version of the pose that works best for you.
3. Cow Pose
An improvement of flexibility and stretching of the spine is what occurs as a result of this pose. Move to all fours with your hand shoulder width apart and don’t forget to spread your fingers wide.
Make sure your knees are hip-width apart and right under your hips. Bring your chest forward towards the ceiling then tip your pelvis up and back to allow your sit bones to reach up. Repeat this pose for a few rounds of breath.
4. Angry Cat
Angry Cat Pose requires the reversal of Cow Pose. Pull your navel in and up enough to round the spine. Make sure to reach your hips towards your ankles to increase space between your vertebra in your back.
An increased lengthening of the spine may occur with this pose along with an improvement of flexibility and even your posture.
5. Supine Twist
Supine Twist Pose is the ultimate massage for the spin, imagine that!
Lie flat on your back and move your legs to one side and your body in the direction of the opposite side taking your arms out in a T-shape. Repeat this pose as often as you need to move with the breath.
This pose helps with posture. Lie flat on your back, bend your knees, bringing your ankles as close to your bottom as possible. Lift your body and move your hips towards the ceiling. You can bring your hands in a fist shape under your back when your hips are up if you would like a more intense stretch.
7. Downward Facing Dog
This pose helps to improve strength and flexibility of the spine. Begin on all fours with your knees directly below your hips and your hands in front of your shoulder.
Turn your toes and spread your fingers, begin to move your body to the ceiling. Exhale as your rise your body up and open for what looks like a long wide table but having the resemblance of a tent. Breathe in and out. Raise your sit bones to the ceiling and try to get your feet as flat as possible to the ground.
8. Crescent Lunge
Our hip flexors often times are neglected but this pose provides a phenomenal stretch for them.
Begin in a lunge position and carefully drop one knee on the ground and lengthen your tailbone in the direction of the knee on the ground. Then lift your arms and behind your front knee and slowly move more into the lunge position. Be to breathe in and out as you move through this pose and repeat on the other side.
9. Pelvic Tilt
This pose aids in stretching the back. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Make sure you flatten your back on the floor and then lift your pelvis. Breathe through each round of lifting and dropping your pelvis.
Each pose listed helps individuals with arthritis and can be beneficial if done consistently. The poses should and can be modified immediately if need be if any pain is experienced during practice. Please communicate with your yoga instructor and let them know what is going on with your pain and notify them as soon as you feel pain. Yoga has incredible benefits and is extremely helpful.
Can Yoga Help Spinal Arthritis?
Yoga can be very beneficial for individuals who suffer from spinal arthritis. A practice should be done with yoga bolsters, pillows, and blankets to add extra support.
Notifying your yoga instructor also helps because they will know how to assist you when needed.
It is also recommended that you attend yoga practices done by a yoga instructor has been practicing and teaching for a very long time because they have worked with many different people from many walks of life and will be able to assist you better.
There are three poses that provide relief to the spine due to spinal arthritis.
1. Child’s Pose
A supported version of this pose will help, be sure to use blankets, pillows and bolsters as needed. Stay in the pose long enough to go through a few rounds of breath, usually, three minutes is recommended. Add the support props under your bottom and lean back into the pose.
2. Legs Up The Wall Pose
This pose is great because immediate relief is given due to the pressure being taken off of the spine. If you need this to be a supported pose, add a bolster under your hips to help prop your legs up the wall more and will also extend your spine even more.
3. Fetal Position
A version of this pose is lying on the side of your choice with a pillow or bolster under your waist. This pose requires you to lay still and relax, which is excellent for your spine. Stay in the pose for as long as your body needs to.
Different styles of yoga can also be done with you have spinal arthritis but be careful because you will need to modify certain poses and move very slowly in and out of poses. Use caution and again if you experience any pain, please stop immediately, notify your yoga instructor and consult your doctor.
Yoga Poses to Help with Arthritic Hips
Yoga can help individuals who experience arthritis in the hips. Hips have joints supported by muscles, ligaments, and tendons which become inflamed when you have arthritis in the shoulders.
A breakdown of cartilage that is a cushion for your bones is also affected by arthritis. A type of arthritis in the hips causes cartilage to wear away at the ends of the bones exposing raw bone and when this is rubbed against another raw bone it can be extremely painful which results in swelling, stiffness, tightness and decreased movement and pain.
Individuals suffering from arthritis often times think about adding yoga into their very own healing routine.
It is recommended that a one-on-one session should happen so that the instructor knows exactly what you’re looking for out of the practice and for your pain management. Let’s talk about three poses that can help with arthritis in the hips.
1. Dynamic Reclined Hip Stretches
This provides a gentle stretch for the hamstrings and hips. Lying flat on your back with both legs stretched out in front and hold one knee in one hand on the same side and move to the side of your body. Hold for as long as you can and move through the breath. Repeat on bring the other side.
2. Dynamic Snow Angel Legs
This pose also provides a gentle stretch for the hamstrings and hips. Lie flat on your back with your legs close together, inhale and spread your legs wide open on the floor. Make sure that your thighs do not roll in or out. Exhale breath and bring your legs back to the center. Repeat for a few rounds of breath.
3. Dynamic Locust Pose
This pose focuses on strengthening your hips while improving flexibility in the hip flexors. Lie in your stomach, inhale and lift your chest and lift one leg off the ground, make sure your knee doesn’t bend. Exhale and release your chest and the leg that is lifted to the floor. Repeat with the other leg and go through the pose while going through a few rounds of breath.
All of the poses listed improve your range of motion in the hips and allows you to recognize movements that may cause immediate pain and discomfort. Strengthening your hips and hip flexors will help you with pain management of arthritis. Do what feels right for you.
Of course, anyone who suffers from any type of arthritis and wants to begin a yoga practice please consult your doctor before beginning. It’s important to keep your doctor involved when you add physical activity to your daily routine so that they can be kept in the loop.