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Is Yoga Good For Osteoarthritis Of The Spine

Yoga Poses To Ease Arthritis

Yoga for Spinal Arthritis

Its just regular knee pain which will go away with time, you respond to the worries of your loved ones. While silently wondering if the pain could possibly mean something more serious.

Certainly there is reason to worry if your joints ache, look swollen or seem to have lost their usual flexibility. These could be early signs of arthritis – a condition that affects around 180 million Indians.

Arthritis comes from arth meaning joints, and ritis meaning inflammation. It is an umbrella term for over a hundred diseases which are linked with inflammation of the joints.

But what could I have done to make the inflammation happen?


Maybe nothing at all! Arthritis could be caused by a reduction in the cartilage that cushions your joints. Or the extra strain youre putting on them every day. It could also be your immune system working against you.

How Can Yoga Help Hip Arthritis

First off, regularly practicing yoga can help you look and feel younger. Its no secret that yoga is excellent for all-around health and energy, not to mention mood and well-being. It can also help hip arthritis in a number of ways.

  • Yoga can help you build strength around the hips, stabilizing the joints and providing some relief from arthritis pain.
  • Yoga can release endorphins, which are the bodys natural pain-killers.
  • Yoga can help you maintain a healthy weight, which keeps extra pressure off of the joints.
  • Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise, meaning it doesnt put undue strain on your joints.

In fact, yoga is proven to help people with arthritis improve many physical symptoms like pain and stiffness, and psychological issues like stress and anxiety.

-Susan Bernstein, Arthritis Foundation

But not all yoga poses can help. Although yoga poses are low-impact, there are still some that may cause pain in your hips or other joints. This is why weve gathered the exercises below, which should all help ease arthritis symptoms in your hips. However, if any of the poses do cause pain, stop doing them and choose poses that arent painful.

Yoga Spinal Flexion Poses

A recent case study report by Dr Sinaki at the Mayo Clinics Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation identifies many of the problems associated with yoga spinal flexion positions and their affect on people with osteopenia or osteoporosis.

In the report , three patients had osteopenia . They were in good health and pain free. The yoga practitioners embarked on a yoga exercise program to improve their musculoskeletal health.


Unfortunately, the yoga flexion exercises the patients followed brought on pain and fractures. The author concludes that while exercise has been proven to be beneficial to bone health, some yoga positions can contribute to extreme strain on spines with bone loss. The concern is even greater among individuals with osteoporosis.

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Are There Any Poses People With Arthritis Should Avoid

The general rule for arthritis patient is that if it hurts, stop. The old adage of no pain, no gain does not apply to yoga, particularly if you have activity limitations. When doing backbends, arthritis patients should keep them relatively small and be aware not to hyper-extend the neck, keeping the head in line with the rest of the spine. For those with arthritis of the hip, be cautious when doing hip openers or poses with extreme external rotation of the hips. Generally, you will notice pain if you are going too far with the pose, but sometimes the effects are not felt until the next day. It is important to be gentle with your practice, especially at first. If you do not experience any pain after a few days, you can decide to gradually increase the intensity of the poses. There have also been some indications that strength training targeted at the quadriceps muscles might not be recommended for those with misaligned or lax knees. However, interventions that balance opposite muscle groups and exercises that improve muscle awareness might help stabilize the knee. As with any condition, it is important to be cautious and pay attention to your body. Also, be sure to consult your doctor and instructor if you experience any pain or difficulty resulting from yoga practice.

Yoga For Arthritis: 10 Poses To Try

9 Yoga Poses for Arthritis Relief

Yoga for arthritis! Yes, you heard it right. Yoga for knee pain arthritis involves a series of breathing techniques, exercises and meditation that works to improve physical arthritis symptoms. Yoga poses for arthritis pain are safe for the joints and muscles. Recent studies conducted among various osteoarthritis patients show that regular practice of yoga can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility, stretch the bones, and promote better sleep. If you are one among those who suffer from pain and stiffness in the joints, then this article is for you.

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Have You Considered Trying Yoga For Arthritis Symptom Relief

Arthritis is one of a handful of chronic conditions that any of us may experience as we age. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common forms, both of which cause bone deterioration in the joints. Practicing yoga for arthritis may be your best pathway to easing stress to your joints and slowing down the decrease in bone density.

Aerobic Exercise For Osteoarthritis

Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This could be 30 minutes, five times a week. If you can’t spare a half-hour, break it up into 10-minute chunks throughout the day. You can start with short, brisk walks, climbing up and down stairs, or riding a stationary bike.

As your endurance builds up, go for 30- to 45-minute sessions. Walking, biking, swimming, tai chi, yoga, and water aerobics are all good aerobic exercises for people with osteoarthritis. Water exercise is especially ideal because of water’s soothing warmth and buoyancy. It’s a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles — plus it acts as resistance to help build muscle strength.

In your everyday life, you can also work in physical activities that can help with your OA. Wash the car, mow the lawn, vacuum the house, or window-shop at the mall. You can even walk around the room while watching TV. While it may not seem like much, small movements keep your joints moving, plus you burn calories.

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Yoga Poses For Spinal Arthritis

A supported version of childs pose is the first exercise Turczan recommends. For this one, position pillows or bolsters lengthwise under your trunk , and stay in the pose for up to 3 minutes. If you have stenosis, assuming supported childs pose in this way may help open your spinal joints and bring pain relief, she says.

Legs up the wall is another therapeutic pose that Turczan recommends. In this case, she says, placing a bolster under your hips as well as against the wall may help give extension to the spine. Be sure to keep the bolster parallel with the wall, as well.

Legs up the wall automatically decompresses the spine,” she says, “and elevating the hips decompresses it even more.”

The third therapeutic yoga pose Turczan suggests for spinal arthritis symptom management is to simply lie on your side with a pillow or bolster placed under your waist. You can add a stretch to the spine on the top side by bringing both arms over your head. This pose may also help open your facet joints, Turczan adds.

What Should I Know About Back Pain

Yoga for Osteoarthritis – Gentle Yoga Stretches to Increase Strength & Flexibility

Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.


The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.

As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.

Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.

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Strengthening Exercises For Osteoarthritis

Muscle strengthening can come from lifting hand weights, using flexible tubing, even lifting a 1-liter water bottle.


To start a hand-weight program, use weights that you can lift 12 to 15 times with good form . Make sure you feel comfortable using the weights. Get started with these simple strengthening exercises. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each.

  • Biceps curls: Start with elbows bent at the sides. Keeping your upper arm at your side, bring one dumbbell up to your shoulder. Lower to original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides.
  • Triceps extensions: Use both hands to hold weight overhead. Keeping your elbows pointed upward, lower the weight behind your head. Raise weight overhead again. Return and repeat.
  • Side lateral raises: With arms down at your sides, raise arms to shoulder height. Lower and repeat.
  • Wall push-up: This exercise is great for people who are not able to do a regular push-up. Stand with feet about 12 inches from a wall. Place hands a little wider than shoulders. Lower your chest to the wall, then push back to the starting position.

Use cold packs after exercising if you need. Many people with arthritis wrap up their exercise routine this way.

Yoga Poses That May Help Manage Back Pain

You dont have to bend yourself into a pretzel to benefit from Hatha yoga. Even simple poses provide a gentle stretch that can help ease chronic back pain. Yoga poses focus on proper posture and spinal alignment that maintains normal spinal curvature.

The following poses are back-friendly and found in most Hatha yoga classes.

  • Please Note: Be mindful of yoga poses that involve simultaneous bending and twisting movements, as these are not recommended for everyone with a back and/or neck condition. Always talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, including yoga.

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Yoga Helps In Recovering With Diseases And Injuries

Studies reveal that injury in joints or surrounding tissues at any point of time may add risk to arthritis.

The researchers are still trying to understand the mechanism behind it but they suspect injury/fracture may add factors in joint degradation that are irreversible.

Researchers believe fractures potentially alter the joint loading, metabolic and biochemical properties of the cartilage which releases inflammatory cytokines.

Paget disease commonly affects femur, spine, skull, and tibia bones. Developing this disease is unavoidable in almost all cases but can be prevented by maintaining joint mobility and avoiding weight gain.

Both the preventive measure can be achieved by yoga.

Gout is caused by deposition of an excess of uric acid in the form of needle-shaped urate crystals in tissues and joints.

Yoga has a detoxifying effect and removes toxic products from the body as sweat and urine.

What does this mean? This means that the yoga can improve the mobility of joints affected by injury. Yoga can also excrete the toxins which can cause gout.

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Adho Mukha Svanasana Or The Downward Facing Dog For Arthritis Of The Spine

Spinal Osteoarthritis (Spondylosis) exercises I also ...

Benefits of Adho mukha savanasana or The Downward Facing Dog for Arthritis of the Spine:

  • Regular practice of Downward facing dog helps in stretching the abdominal organs and the pelvic region.
  • The lungs are fully expanded with the practice and the oxygenation of the blood is done which helps in arthritis of the spine.

Steps to Practice AdhoMukhaSvanasana or The Downward Facing Dog

  • To practice Adho Mukha Svanasana, stand on floor or on the yoga mat.
  • Kneel on the yoga mat or floor in such a way that the whole body is supported with hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are in straight line with the hips in this position.
  • Make your palms spread on the yoga mat make sure that the maximum force is exerted with the index finger on the floor. Your forefingers should turn a little parallel.
  • While exhaling, lift your knees far from the floor in such a way that the knees come in line with the thighs and they are not bent.
  • In the beginning, if you face any difficulty in keeping the knees straight, you can keep them a little bent and heels lifted from the floor.
  • Try to raise your hip bones inside and try to draw your legs into the crotch.
  • In this position, make the highest point of the thighs push back and let your heels touch the floor.
  • Try to lift your body far from the ground while keeping your arms and legs straight.
  • Keep your shoulders very firm and open your chest in this position. Practicing this yoga pose is good for arthritis of the spine.

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What Do The Results Mean

Though promising, the study, published in 2015 in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, doesn’t provide conclusive evidence that yoga can reverse bone loss. The researchers acknowledged its drawbacks: less than one-third of the study’s participants adhered to the yoga routine by practicing the poses at least every other day throughout the study, and just 43 submitted complete actual DEXA reports at the beginning and end of the study. “It gives one a reason to be cautiously optimistic, but a more complete study should be done,” says Dr. Marian Hannan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, whose research includes the effects of biomechanics on physical function.

Dr. Hannan notes the participants were also self-selected, not randomly enrolled. In other words, they wanted to practice yoga. “Would the results be equally promising in people who were simply assigned to do yoga?” she asks. Yoga is a mind-body activity, and to get the most benefit requires full engagement.

These Yoga Postures Will Help You Manage The Symptoms Of Arthritis:

  • Strengthens the arms, legs and lower back.
  • Is extremely beneficial for frozen shoulders.

You may use some support at the knee to hold this pose.

  • Strengthens the legs and back.
  • Improves balance.

However this posture is not recommended for those with high blood pressure or migraine.

  • This is a complete posture. It brings flexibility and strength to the entire body including the spine, wrists and shoulders.
  • Improves blood circulation.

If you have a problem with the neck or shoulder region, consult your doctor before practicing this posture.

  • Stretches the neck, chest and spine.

Setubandhasana relieves back pain instantly. Is very good for treating symptoms of osteoporosis.

  • Very effective for back pain and sciatica.
  • Stretches and strengthens the spine, arms, and chest.
  • Improves physical equilibrium.

If you have severe back pain, please avoid this posture.

  • Brings complete relaxation to the body.
  • Repairs tissues and cells.
  • Releases stress.
  • Ideal way to get rid of vata that aggravates joint pain and also creates imbalance in the body.

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Exercise Recommendations For Osteoporosis

Yoga is excellent for your overall health and well-being. However, you need to do more than that if you have osteoporosis. Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.

But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?

A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.

I cover important topics related to osteoporosis exercise including:

  • Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?

Exercise And Physical Therapy For Spinal Arthritis

Yoga for Osteoarthritis of the Ankle — Vajrasana

Many people with arthritis have found substantial relief from their symptoms through physical therapy and exercise.

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In fact, exercise is thought to be the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement for people with osteoarthritis. For those with osteoarthritis, the exercises need to be done correctly to avoid causing joint pain. Specific exercises help strengthen the muscles around the joints , improve joint mobility and reduce joint stiffness and pain.

It has been demonstrated that back and/or neck pain inhibits extensor muscle function, and thus exercises should be focused on those particular muscles. Regular exercise also has a wide range of side benefits, as it typically improves attitude, promotes a healthy level of blood circulation, helps individuals maintain an appropriate weight, promotes endurance, provides more energy, improves sleep, and can even decrease depression.

See What to Consider Before Starting Exercises for Neck Pain

The patient may be referred to a physical therapist or exercise trainer by his/her doctor in order to determine the appropriate amount and types of exercise. For most, it is very important to work with an appropriately trained physical therapist in order to learn how to do the exercises correctly.

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Paschimottanasana Or The Forward Fold For Arthritis Of The Spine

Benefits of Paschimottanasana or The Forward Fold for Arthritis of the Spine:

  • Regular practice of Paschimottanasana or The Forward Fold improves the blood flow to the organs and helps supply oxygenated blood to the organs by neuromuscular action and in this way helps with arthritis of the spine.
  • Practice of this yoga asana stimulates and changes the lumen size of the arterioles. This again helps in regulating the circulation and benefits arthritis of the spine.

Steps To Practice Paschimottanasana Or The Forward Fold:

  • To practice Paschimottanasana, sit with your legs outstretched on floor or on yoga mat.
  • Keel your feet together and hands on your knees.
  • This is the starting position for Paschimottanasana and is also called Dandasana.
  • Relax the whole body in this position.
  • With a deep inhale, raise your hands above your head and give your arms a stretch.
  • With a big and deep exhale, start moving your arms forward towards the foot.
  • As you move forward, take your hand on your legs as far as possible towards the big toe.
  • If this seems impossible, try to grasp the ankle with your hands or any part of the leg which can be reached by hands comfortably. This yoga pose is beneficial for arthritis of the spine.

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