In a single month, 30% of people in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control suffer from some type of joint pain. Joint pain, regardless of its severity, prevents people from being able to perform essential everyday tasks or engage in favorite hobbies or activities. Yoga has proven successful in helping people who suffer from joint pain.
The slow, gentle, and low-impact movements of yoga help to keep the joints in the body healthy. Whether you are trying to prevent future flare-ups of joint inflammation or looking for relief for pain and stiffness you are currently experiencing, yoga can help.
Yoga for Arthritis
Arthritis is a generalized term that can be used when a person experiences swelling, stiffness, or pain in any joint in the body. There are over a hundred different specific types of arthritis that can be broken down into four generalized categories based on the cause of the joint pain. The four different categories of arthritis are infectious, metabolic, inflammatory, or degenerative.
Now that you understand what arthritis is, you may be asking yourself “how does yoga help joint pain and arthritis”. The answer is – it keeps you moving.
The joints in the body rely upon muscles, ligaments, and tendons for support. Inactivity causes them to weaken. Over time as the tendons, ligaments, and muscles weaken, they are unable to provide proper support for the joints. Without proper support, pain, stiffness and swelling will start to occur.
Remaining active when you have arthritis can be difficult as many popular forms of exercise, such as running or cycling, put a lot of strain on the body’s joints. That is why many people with arthritis start doing yoga.
Yoga is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise that is safe for people who suffer from joint pain or stiffness. Yoga involves moving and holding very specific bodily postures and poses while focusing on breathing, relaxation, and meditation. Each posture or pose encourages movement while stretching and strengthening the body.
By practicing yoga on a regular basis, the body is kept in motion and the tendons, ligaments, and muscles are able to properly support joints as they will not weaken. If the tendons, ligaments, and muscles have already weakened, the positions and poses in yoga can help strengthen them. The stronger the muscles, tendons, and ligaments get, the less likely you are to experience joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by arthritis.What Type of Yoga is Best for Arthritis?
All forms of yoga involve physical movement and postures. However, the pacing, sequence, and complexity of poses will vary significantly depending upon the style of yoga you are practicing. Some forms of yoga focus on movement, flexibility, stretching and relaxation while others focus on building and maintaining strength.
The type of yoga that is best for you will depend upon what you hope to accomplish. Understanding the basic features of each form of yoga will help you determine which type will help you reach your goals.
Some of the most commonly offered styles of yoga include:
Iyengar Yoga – focuses heavily upon very precise movements and body alignment. Movements can be easily adapted to help people who suffer from limited mobility due to joint pain and stiffness.
Hatha Yoga – definitions of hatha vary depending upon instructor and studio. Typically, it involves very general poses and movement. A beginner hatha yoga class is often helpful for those with arthritis.
Hot Yoga – sessions are held in a heated room. Each hot yoga session involves performing in a very specific sequence 26 different postures and poses as well as 2 breathing exercises. A form of hot yoga, known as Bikram Yoga, is great for people who suffer joint pain in the hands and wrists as it doesn’t involve postures and poses that strain these particular joints.
Yin Yoga – slower paced yoga that focuses on deep breathing and stretching. Poses are held anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. People with arthritis who wish to reduce stress and relieve muscle tension may find this style of yoga helpful.
Vinyasa Yoga - a very physically demanding and athletic form of yoga. Flowing sequences of movements are performed. Each sequence features poses in which partial weight is placed on the wrists and hands. Vinyasa yoga isn’t ideal for those who are suffering from current arthritis pain and stiffness. However, people who want to build up or maintain muscles that support the joints may find this form of yoga helpful.
Can yoga worsen arthritis is a common concern voiced by those who suffer from joint pain and stiffness. If you carefully choose which type of yoga you practice and take a beginner class that is led by a certified, experienced instructor, you should not experience any worsening arthritis pain. In fact, you should start to experience less pain. If you are concerned about experiencing pain or making your arthritis worse, talk to your yoga instructor before class. He or she will be able to tell you what yoga poses to avoid for bad knees or hips or make suggestions on how to modify the poses, so they are easier on your joints.
What Yoga is Best for Knee Pain and Hip Arthritis?
Practicing any form of yoga will help with pain caused by arthritis because it gets you up and moving around. However, there are some types of yoga that people with arthritis prefer to do because they are gentler on the body.
Iyengar yoga is considered to be the best yoga for knee and hip pain caused by arthritis. Its focus on proper alignment helps to protect and strengthen the joints in the hips and knees.
Another form of yoga that helps with arthritis, especially hip arthritis, is hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is the best yoga for hips with arthritis because of its simple, gentle movements. The simple movements increase lubrication around the hip joints. Increased lubrication can help slow down the breakdown of cartilage which is often the cause of arthritic pain.
Examples of Yoga Poses That Help Relieve Knee and Hip Joint Pain
The following are some examples of yoga poses, according to The Yoga Journal, that can help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis:
Bridge Pose – strengthens the knee joints while stretching out the back
Big Toe Pose – relieves tension in the hips
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose – works to open up the hips
Extended Triangle Pose – opens up the hip flexors
Heron Pose – works both the knees and hips
Pigeon Pose – considered the best yoga pose for opening up the hips
Even though yoga is gentle on the body there are still some poses that may be difficult if you suffer from hip or knee pain. If you suffer from knee pain, you will want to modify or avoid yoga poses, such as Child’s Pose, Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose, and Lotus Pose, that strain or put pressure on the knees.
A similar approach should be taken when trying to figure out what yoga poses to avoid with hip arthritis. The poses you will want to avoid or modify are those that stretch out or encourage movement of the hip joint. Poses, such as Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose and Extended Triangle Pose, should be modified so that you are gradually and slowly opening up the hips.
Yoga is not meant to be uncomfortable or painful. If you experience any pain when performing a specific pose, make immediate modifications to the pose or get out of that position. A certified yoga instructor can help you learn how to modify specific yoga poses so they don’t cause you any pain or discomfort.
Managing Body Pain After Yoga
You should not experience any extreme pain after yoga. However, you will probably experience slight muscle soreness and discomfort a few hours after a yoga session. This is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness and happens as a result of tiny microscopic tears that occurred while you were stretching and holding the yoga poses and positions. Pain from delayed-onset muscle soreness doesn’t happen right away. It typically occurs approximately 12 to 48 hours after a yoga session.
There are a few things you can do to help manage any pain or discomfort you experience after yoga. Some ways to successfully relieve discomfort and pain after yoga include:
Staying hydrated – properly hydrated muscles tend to heal faster
Taking a hot bath – the warmth and heat from the bath can relax tight or sore muscles
Take a natural supplement that helps lubricate the joints – keeping the joints in the body properly lubricated can help reduce pain and inflammation after yoga
What is Most Effective Joint Supplement for Joint Pain and Stiffness
Common ingredients found in natural supplements can help treat joint pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Some of the most effective supplemental ingredients at helping with arthritis pain and stiffness include:
Glucosamine – helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage that occurs with some forms of arthritis. Cartilage prevents joints from rubbing together.
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) – helps repair damaged cartilage. SAMe also has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain and inflammation from arthritis.
Turmeric – works as a potent natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric contains a chemical compound known as curcumin that effectively relieves pain and stiffness caused by arthritis with greater safety than OTC or prescription anti-inflammatory pain relievers.
Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs) – helps prevent cartilage breakdown. May help repair already damaged cartilage.
Fish oil – Docosahexaenoic acid and epicosapentaenoic acids, two types of omega-3 fatty acids, are found in fish oil. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory qualities that help relieve pain and inflammation around the joints.
All these supplements may naturally relieve pain and inflammation, but you can’t possibly take them all. So, what is the most effective joint supplement for joint pain and stiffness? Turmeric.
Benefits of Turmeric
Taking turmeric allows people who suffer from arthritis to naturally relieve joint pain, stiffness, and swelling that prevents them from engaging in regular day-to-day activities. How does it work to reduce joint pain and inflammation? It does it by having safe, effective anti-inflammatory qualities. When it is taken, inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints is reduced which essentially helps reduce pain and stiffness.
How does turmeric work to reduce joint pain and inflammation caused by arthritis? Several studies show that turmeric is as effective as OTC and prescription anti-inflammatory pain meds for arthritis but natural. A study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food suggested that people who took turmeric regularly for at least 90 days reported experiencing relief from pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. In addition to seeing a reduction in pain levels, these people also reported they didn’t suffer from common problems and side effects that occurred when they took OTC or prescription medication for arthritis. Given what this study discovered, it can be assumed that turmeric is not only just as effective as OTC and prescription medications, but it could be safer as it doesn’t produce as many side effects.
Determining how much turmeric to take if you wish to experience its benefits is difficult because every person and supplement is different. If you want to receive the maximum benefits of a turmeric supplement, you will want to find a turmeric supplement that is from a trusted source. Once you find a trusted source, you will want to choose a supplement option that has maximum natural potency and absorption.
Some supplements contain absorption enhancers such as black pepper or other types of chemical compounds. These ingredients aid the body in absorbing the turmeric, but it can create side effects. Finding a supplement that is natural and water-soluble will give you exactly what you are looking for - more anti-inflammatory and antioxidant for greater potency
If you take a supplement that is natural and has maximum potency and absorption, how long does it take for turmeric to work for inflammation? It depends. Some people start to notice pain relief in a few days while others notice a difference in two to three weeks.
Discover the Best Way to Take Turmeric Supplements
Nuvothera Super Micronized Turmeric Curcumin offers the best, most efficient way for arthritis sufferers to find pain relief. Why Nuvothera Super Micronized Turmeric is better is because of how it was created. Through advanced technology, this supplement not only contains a maximum potency of turmeric, but it is water soluble for rapid absorption and no added black pepper or chemical absorption enhancers needed. This allows the body to quickly absorb the turmeric and get the natural anti-inflammatory compounds directly to the cells in the body that need it the most to heal.
Combining yoga and stretches with taking a natural anti-inflammatory for joint pain can help anyone with arthritis find a safe and effective way to relieve pain. Take Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin to receive the maximum benefits of turmeric and find a yoga practice that works well for you. Click here to learn more about Nuvothera’s natural remedy for joint pain.
Written by Bev Hope, Director of Marketing at Nuvothera, Inc. who has over three decades working to empower patients to lead healthier lives. Bev has personal and family experience with inflammation based autoimmune disease and is passionate about helping and inspiring people with chronic health conditions live to their best lives.