(Last Updated on : 09-04-2013)
Arthritis is a disease that is quite common to varied age groups. It is a crippling degenerative process that leads to irreversible destructive disorder. There is an inflammation of joints, pain, stiffness, redness, heat and loss of function in one or more joints. Most affected joints are, the weight bearing joints of spine, hips, knees, ankles and fingers. There are many types of arthritis, including, Osteo-arthritis, Gouty Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Acute Rheumatic Arthritis. Yogic practices can help in alleviating the disease to a great extent.
Osteo-Arthritis is the chronic degenerative conditions of bones and can be seen in the middle and old age. It is related with the degeneration of articular cartilage of the weight bearing joints. Overweight due to wrong diet, lack of exercise, calcium deficiency, imbalance in the parathyroid function, mental and emotional stress, and sedentary life style and wear and tear of the joint tissue from early injury to joint or osteophytes formation are the major causes for this kind of arthritis. Gouty Arthritis is a chronic form of arthritis that is associated with gout, commonly found in old age due to deposition of uric acid in the joints. Excessive uric acid accumulated in the blood and deposits of urates of sodium around the joints. Disproportionate consumption of red meat and coffee can also cause gouty arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a severe, crippling and speedily progressive form of joint degeneration often found in young and middle-aged people. Specific cause for this kind of arthritis is unknown. Severe emotional shock and stress may trigger it or some sort of acute infection. A person suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis will experience swelling and pain in the joints. Pain becomes localised with fever and malaise, 'morning stiffness', pain and tenderness and swelling of the entire joint. If not properly attended, it leads to destruction of joint tissue and deformities of joints. Psychological disturbances might aggravate the disorder. Acute Rheumatic Arthritis usually it occurs in low-income group due to unsuitable living environment, such as, damp and wet walls and floor of the house. Major joints of the body are affected. The main cause behind this type of arthritis is viral infection, like, cold and flu results out of streptococcal infections.
Apart from the physical symptoms, arthritis also affects the mental state of the person. Thus, the patient is usually seen nervous, tensed, worried, depressed and moody. They are also seen to suppress their anger and other symptoms. Yoga asanas prove to be the best possible natural remedy for this disease. However, some control should also be taken in terms of diet. One should take a simple and light diet, by avoiding sour fruits curd, pickles and spices. Eating fresh fruit and boiled pulses like moong is very important. The patient should always avoid milk and dairy products.
Meditation plays a great role in curing arthritis. The simple recitation of "om", sitting in a Padmasana posture brings about great effect to the arthritis patient. Moreover, cultural asanas Like Pawan Muktansana, Setubandhasana, Ardha Halasana, Akarna Dhanurasana, Marjarasana, Utkatasana, Hastashirasana, Ekpadsahajhasta Bhujangasana, Dwipadsahajhasta Bhujangasana, Chakrasana, Tadasana and Vakrasana are greatly recommended for arthritis. Shudhhi kriyas like Anuloma-Viloma, Bhastrika and Shitali offers great relief to the arthritis patients. Besides, the cultural asana, simple Pranayama is found to be very effective in arthritis patients. It involves deep breathing, special type of Pranayama with inhalation through right nostril and exhalation through both the nostrils.
With Yoga, the physical structure of a human body can be greatly improved. Yoga Poses for arthritis strengthens the joints, which are crucial in preventing and dealing with this disease. It makes the joints function normally, thus reducing the risk of stiffness. With its virtue of balance, Yoga practice helps to regulate the levels of uric acid in the body. Obesity may also be avoided through these Yoga asana practices. More importantly, Yoga can lead to an overall healthier lifestyle that can improve the body immunity not only from arthritis but to other sicknesses as well.
Some of the basic asanas for arthritis is as follows -
Sukhasana is a classic meditative pose and is usually performed after doing the Savasana. This straightens the spine, slowing down metabolism, promoting inner tranquility, and keeping the mind calm.
Supine Poses like single leg raises is performed in order to prepare the body for other exercises. This asana benefits the legs, lower back muscles, and abdominal area. Thus, this greatly benefits the patient of arthritis.
Warm-up poses like shoulder stretches are great in relieving stress and tension on the shoulders, as well as the entire upper back. One should practice them daily for several weeks for quick relief.
The neck exercises are very important for the patients of arthritis. Many people hold tension in their necks and shoulders, leading to stiffness, bad posture, and tension headaches. Yoga practice can ease such ailments, by increasing flexibility, and toning the muscles.
The standing side stretch is another Yoga asana with two lines of energy radiating outward from the center.
Hand clenching work efficiently on arthritis patients. Hands and wrists are common body parts which are affected by arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis. One should take good care of the hands and joints and always keep them in good working condition by performing this exercise.
Wrist bending is equally helpful exercise for the arthritis patients. The wrists can also be affected by arthritis, specifically Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Ankle bending helps when repeated strain or sprain in the ankles can contribute to the occurrence of Ankle Arthritis. This asana helps to manage stress and keep the ankles in good condition through therapy.
While practicing ankle rotation the individual has to pay attention to the ankles to avoid muscle or tendon strain due to too much training.
All the asanas prescribed above should be done in a slow and controlled physical movement of joints that shall be helpful for arthritis patients. It improves the blood circulation in joints, removing unwanted toxins and other waste products. If patient tries to move his limbs and joints excessively while the asanas, the pain increases, so the amount of exercise should be done to a recommended limit.
- The Yoga asanas prescribed above should be strictly performed under the supervision of an experienced Yoga teacher.