Yoga may offer pain relief and improve physical function for knee osteoarthritis.

  • An online yoga program has been shown to improve the physical function of people suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
  • The results showed that online yoga’s benefits, including pain relief for the knees, declined after the 12-week-long program.
  • Other studies have also shown that regular yoga can help with knee osteoarthritis.

A new study has shown that people suffering from knee osteoarthritis experienced improvements in their physical function after they completed a 12-week-long online yoga course.

The benefits of yoga and people’s participation to the online classes declined in the weeks that followed the program’s end. The results were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on September 19.

The current study doesn’t show that participants in the online yoga program saw an improvement in pain symptoms. However, other studies showed positive results.

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Pamela Stokes Eggleston (a Maryland-based yoga therapist) says that yoga is “definitely beneficial” for knee osteoarthritis. She said that yoga can improve mobility and decrease pain. This can, in turn, reduce the need for pain medication.

Eggleston stated that she is not only a yoga therapist but also has knee osteoarthritis.

Although some knee osteoarthritis patients may experience severe pain, others can still get their daily activities interrupted. She told Healthline that her initial symptoms were not debilitating. However, it was enough to make me go to x-rays as well as an MRI.

Yoga was her answer to all her problems. She said, “It’s all about what’medicine’ from yoga can help me more.”

Exercise for knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis in the knee is a condition where the cartilage in your knee joint becomes brittle and allows the bones to rub together. This can lead to pain and other symptoms.

This condition is more common in those over 50, but it can also be found in younger people.

People with knee osteoarthritis may have weak muscles that support the joint. This can cause balance problems and increased chance of fallingTrusted Source.

This and other health hazards associated with inactivity make it a recommendation that people suffering from knee osteoarthritis exercise to reduce their pain, improve their physical function, and increase their quality of their life.

Regular exercise can help people maintain a healthy body weight. Having extra weight can cause stress in the knees and increase the inflammation in the joints.

Particularly, low-impact activities like walking, cycling and yoga can help people keep active, while being gentler to the knees than high-impact activities like running.

Eggleston’s knee osteoarthritis was her first diagnosis. Walking became and still is her favorite cardiovascular activity. She also practices daily yoga and uses a bouncer or mini-trampoline – “any low impact activity that will get my heart rate up.”

She also stated that she eats a mostly plant-based diet, and has limited her intake of sugars in order to keep her healthy weight and reduce her body’s inflammation. However, a healthy balanced diet must be balanced with regular exercise.

Online Yoga for Knee Arthritis

Previous research has supported the use of yoga to treat knee osteoarthritis. It showed that it can improve joint stiffness, pain, and physical function. These studies did not include online yoga programs for people with osteoarthritis.

The study included 212 participants with knee osteoarthritis. Access to online information was available for all participants about osteoarthritis and treatment options.

Randomly, around half the participants were assigned to a self-paced 12-week online yoga program.

The program consisted 12 30-minute pre-recorded videos. The program required that people record one video per week and three times during each week.

Classes included slow-paced, dynamic and static yoga poses that were designed to strengthen and stretch the core and legs.

Instructors offered various modifications to the poses so that people could adjust the program to their own abilities.

The classes were primarily focused on the physical aspects of yoga but did not include any other aspects such as deep relaxation and chanting. This could also reduce pain .

Improved physical function with yoga

Subjects who took yoga classes for 12 weeks saw an average improvement in their physical function, knee stiffness and quality of living, as compared to those who had only access to online osteoarthritis education.

However, the difference in knee pain when walking was very small between the two groups at 12 weeks.

Researchers followed up with participants 12 weeks after the end of the program. Both groups showed similar levels of physical function and pain, as well as knee stiffness and quality of living.

The 12-week-old program ended, and many people stopped taking the classes.

Over two-thirds completed at least one class per week during the last week. However, less than one-third of participants were still using the online yoga program at regular intervals by the end the follow-up period.

The paper stated that not all participants adhered to the yoga program, which could have hampered detection of true benefits of yoga.

It may also be difficult to determine the true benefit of yoga for knee osteoarthritis.

The authors mention, for example, that “because we don’t know if the elements of the yoga program were done correctly or not, it was impossible to supervise them.”

Getting a specialized class in yoga

Eggleston suggests that people suffering from knee osteoarthritis try yoga for the first-time. She cautioned that this may not be a regular class in a studio.

Researchers developed the “My Joint Yoga” program in collaboration with yoga therapists and physical therapists. Online The complete 12-week program can be accessed .

These poses are similar to those used in traditional yoga classes but with different modifications and levels. These include:

  • In a chair, Goddess poses
  • Warrior 1 Pose
  • Side Stretch Pose
  • Leg lifts, standing, or prone
  • Bridge Pose
  • Standing or seated, one-leg balance
  • Triangle Pose, chair-supported
  • Warrior 2 – Pose with optional chair-supported
  • Wide-Leg Forward Bend, seated

Eggleston stated that many of these poses strengthen muscles around the knees, which Eggleston believes is crucial for stabilizing the joint.

She found it helpful to slowly move into and out of chair pose. You can also do this with your back against a wall to support yourself.

Eggleston believes that yoga is more than just a series of poses on a mat. She said that yoga is about interoceptive awareness, which means being fully aware of what’s happening in my body.

Listening for the body while doing yoga

Charlotte Nuessle is a Massachusetts-based yoga therapist who said that yoga is all about learning to listen and honor the body. Healthline explained that this applies to knee osteoarthritis patients. She said they shouldn’t push their knees until they feel pain.

People with knee osteoarthritis can listen to their bodies by placing a folded blanket under their knees.

Nuessle suggests that standing poses be held without locking the knees. Nuessle stated that locking out your joints does not allow your body to engage with the pose as deeply and with the same awareness.

This means that you must be able to activate your core muscles , which are more than the abdominal muscles , and bring this support to the yoga postures.

Dynamic yoga poses, which Nuessle calls “gentle mobilization & repetition”, can be used to engage the muscles around the knee.

She said, “Every time we repeat an action, we have the opportunity to bring our attention to it.” “We have the opportunity to make subtle adjustments. There is a way for us to do this differently.

Takeaway

Research has shown that although online yoga may not provide long-term relief for osteoarthritis-related knee pain, it can temporarily relieve the problem.

A large amount of evidence supports the use of yoga for knee osteoarthritis patients. Teachers and practitioners have also reported that yoga can be used to relieve knee pain.

To find out if yoga can help with knee pain, consult your doctor. You should also seek out a yoga teacher or therapist who is trained in dealing with people with this condition.

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