• Karin Wilson Edmonds

Got Arthritis Or Joint Pain? Yoga Can Help!

Did you know that among people aged 45 to 64 years, approximately 30% report having arthritis? And of people aged 65 years or older, approximately 50% report having arthritis!

But! It’s not just older people who have arthritis. Some younger people are diagnosed with it too, especially athletes who’ve been tough on their joints like runners or dancers.

There are many different kinds of arthritis. I’m talking about osteoarthritis, not rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage that protects the ends of bones wears down causing pain, stiffness, soreness. The main symptoms for most people are pain and stiffness in the joints - especially when just waking up. Other symptoms include swelling, inflammation and reduced range of motion.

The main arthritis hot spots are the hands, hips, knees, and spine although arthritis can happen in other joints, although its less common.

As you get older, you may notice arthritis starting in the hands especially in the base of the thumbs. Hand arthritis is pretty common, and it can be debilitating causing you to have difficulty opening cans and jars and other tasks requiring hand dexterity.

According to doctors, arthritis can’t be cured, but it can be treated. Although some believe with treatment it can be reversed or at least the progress halted.

2 key things to manage your arthritis/joint pain

The two key things to focus on when managing your arthritis/joint pain are:

1. Gentle movement of the joint is important to increase the joint’s range of motion and lubrication

2. Support the joint by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint

How can yoga help?

Yoga, particularly gentle yoga, strengthens the muscles around joints as well as maintains or increases the range of motion of the joints in a slow and controlled way - exactly what arthritic joints need!

Things to keep in mind in yoga class

1. If you have chronic arthritis in the wrists and fingers, avoid weight bearing postures on the hands and knees, many postures can be modified so you can avoid putting weight on your hands/wrists, e.g. instead of plank, try forearm plank

2. A gentle yoga class is best, where the movements are slow and controlled

3. Standing postures will help to strengthen all the muscles of the legs and core, supporting the joints in the legs particularly the knees and hips

4. Keep moving anything that can move!

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