A Natural Arthritis Therapy Includes This Type of Exercise
January 2009 · Print This Article
At last count, some 70 million people in the U.S., or almost 1 in 4 of us, are afflicted with arthritis. Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, it’s generally a painful deal. It’s no wonder many sufferers look for arthritis therapy. Most people with arthritis find that the cold months are most painful. Stiff, painful and swollen joints are the norm, which isn’t conducive to most forms of exercise. While exercise can actually improve the patient’s condition, it’s somewhat of a catch-22. Most exercise programs are simply too painful, resulting in – you guessed it – the patient dropping out of the program. There are medications available for people with rheumatoid arthritis which can slow down the progression of the disease. Osteoarthritis sufferers may be prescribed anti-inflammatory meds or pain killers, but that’s about the extent of what can be done in treating arthritis medically.
If you suffer from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, consider taking a yoga class for your exercise regimen. As many arthritis patients can attest, you’ll realize effective, long term benefits. Using yoga as an arthritis therapy can help prevent and treat some of the accompanying conditions, such as fibromyalgia and loss of muscle tone and strength, while increasing your energy level.
Formal investigations of the benefits of using yoga exercises to treat arthritis are fairly recent, but the studies which have been conducted are most promising. Patients report significant improvement in joint structure and mobility, as well as feeling more vigorous with an improved sense of well being in general.
Unlike more traditional forms of exercise, such as walking, jogging or a simple workout, yoga does not place stress on the joints, doesn’t tax your strength, or result in more pain. In fact, yoga does just the opposite. In addition, yoga offers psychological benefits, as a stress management tool, which perhaps explains the reports of an improved sense of general well being. Stress management is an especially important bonus. When you use yoga therapy in treating arthritis, you reduce stress in a number of ways which serve to reduce pain. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, yoga alone can slow progression of your condition. So it’s no wonder that arthritis patients find this a fun and enjoyable activity they want to continue.
Yoga classes typically begin in a seated position, with slow breathing exercises designed to bring your body to a relaxed state. These exercises are followed up with slow, easy stretching movements, which improves circulation. Your yoga instructor will probably include some balancing exercises, as well as standing or lying poses, all of which improves mobility and muscle tone. Mantras, or short chants of certain sounds, are additional techniques of yoga, which are employed throughout the session, helping you to fully relax and focus. Short periods of meditation are also interspersed during each class period. By the time class ends, you’ll have tossed your worries aside and have a newly acquired calm, all without pain!
Weight management is important in treating arthritis, and yoga can help. Within three months of starting a yoga class, meeting just a few times each week, you’ll feel like a new person, shedding a few pounds along the way. You’ll have markedly better muscle tone and suppleness, in terms of joint mobility, while enjoying a significant reduction in pain.
Choosing yoga for the exercise portion of treating arthritis is perhaps the perfect solution. With the evidence mounting in its favor, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
If you would like more information on natural arthritis therapy and even how chiropractic can help, please contact our Fremont chiropractic health office.