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Monday Medical: Yoga for arthritis

For folks affected by arthritis, daily motion can really feel daunting.

“If folks have ache or really feel stiff, usually they don’t wish to transfer, stroll or train, which may influence all areas of life. Ache can contribute to emphasize or nervousness, affecting the entire individual bodily and emotionally,” stated Liz Leipold, an occupational therapist at UCHealth SportsMed Clinic in Steamboat Springs, who can be educated and authorized as a yoga therapist.

However the mild stretches and actions in yoga might assist folks with arthritis expertise decreased ache and improved mobility, amongst different advantages.

Arthritis and your physique

Arthritis is a situation that ends in swelling and tenderness of a number of joints, inflicting signs equivalent to ache, stiffness and decreased vary of movement. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the commonest forms of the illness, however there are greater than 100 varieties.

“Yoga can supply a whole-person method to assist with well being and wellness in so many alternative methods, from strengthening and bettering flexibility, to serving to stability the nervous system,” Leipold stated. “Yoga might assist enhance motion of synovial and lymph fluids by way of the physique, lower irritation, enhance posture and stability, and strengthen the muscle mass across the joints.”

These advantages might assist improve mobility and energy, whereas lowering ache for folks with arthritis.

Yoga may assist scale back stress.

“When one has arthritis or any illness that may trigger ache, stress or nervousness, the assorted respiratory practices which can be a part of a yoga apply might help calm the nervous system,” Leipold stated.

As somebody with arthritis herself, Leipold has skilled the advantages of yoga firsthand.

“Yoga has undoubtedly helped relieve my signs of ache, stiffness and irritation,” Leipold stated.

Getting began with yoga

Earlier than making an attempt yoga, Leipold recommends checking with a well being care supplier or rheumatologist. However typically, folks with arthritis can attempt mild yoga utilizing variations to suit their wants.

“It’s totally, essential when one is doing yoga to not be in ache,” Leipold stated. “If one thing is not snug, it is okay to change, fluctuate a place or add a prop for higher posture and luxury. There ought to by no means be ache or discomfort.”

Modifications may be made so folks do not should get on the ground.

“Some folks will say, ‘I do not do yoga as a result of I am unable to stand up off the ground,’” Leipold stated. “However we are able to do postures and actions sitting down in a chair, or utilizing a chair for assist, and even laying down supine in mattress. Joint vary of movement and respiratory practices may be practiced in any place. Yoga meets you the place you’re.”

Useful poses

Mild vary of movement workouts may be carried out systematically by way of all the joints, from the ankles, knees and hips, to the backbone and neck, together with shoulders and fingers.

“Gently shifting the joints can enhance flexibility in addition to enhance motion of synovial fluid, which helps to lubricate the joints,” Leipold stated.

The mountain posture in standing or sitting is nice for selling upright spinal alignment and stability, which can assist tone and strengthen muscle mass, enhance respiratory, and reduce ache.

Some yoga postures, equivalent to a shoulder stand, ought to be prevented by folks with spinal or neck arthritis. Many postures may be modified for protected and improved consolation with using props, equivalent to partitions, chairs, cushions and blocks. As an example, a folded blanket or knee pad might help cushion the knees when kneeling.

Leipold recommends discovering a category that’s suited in your degree or working immediately with a licensed yoga teacher, yoga therapist, bodily therapist or occupational therapist to tailor a yoga and train routine that works for you.

Generally, one session is all it takes to begin feeling the advantages.

“After the primary session, some folks may really feel somewhat higher,” Leipold stated.

Susan Cunningham writes for UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Middle. She may be reached at

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