Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. Most people with arthritis will experience pain and difficulty moving around. Over nine million people in the UK have arthritis and, like them, you can take control of your symptoms and continue to have a good quality of life. Arthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems and the nations leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability. Arthritis limits everyday activities such as walking, dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans. Arthritis results in 39 million physician visits and more than a half million hospitalizations. Instead, there are a number of ways that a person can manage whatever form of arthritis or other rheumatic disease they may have. Besides taking any prescription drugs your doctor or healthcare professional may have prescribed for your illness, ask your physician about physical therapy programs that could possibly help your condition. Water aerobics, exercises, and therapy can be helpful in relieving the pain and discomfort of arthritis.
Yoga and ArthritisHolistic (or mind-body integrating) movement practices with origins in eastern philosophy and culture are receiving a great deal of attention recently. Yoga is a set of theories and practices with origins in ancient India. Literally, the word yoga comes from a Sanskrit work meaning "to yoke" or "to unite." It focuses on unifying the mind, body, and spirit, and fostering a greater feeling connection between the individual and his/her surroundings. Yoga is an ancient practice using a system of postures and breath controls, which aim to achieve the perfect union of body, mind and spirit. Yoga can be customized to help with a wide range of specific conditions, including chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and migraines. Yoga may be the last thing on the mind of someone suffering from painful joints and inflammation, but it may turn out to be a very beneficial therapy to ease arthritis symptoms. The benefits of yoga are more than anecdotal. Studies abound that directly attribute regular yoga practice to physical and mental benefits and symptomatic relief of arthritis. Research at various institutes of therapeutic yoga shows that with the regular practice of some selected yoga asana cures this disease within two months when it is of moderate type. In chronic cases it takes four to five months or more to cure and restore normal health.
YOGA POSES FOR ARTHRITIS
Single Leg RaisesThis Yoga Pose is performed in order to prepare the body for other exercises. It benefits the legs, lower back muscles, and abdominal area. In practicing the Single Leg Raise, one leg is raised while the other one stays on the floor.
Standing Side Stretch PoseThe Standing Side Stretch is another Yoga Pose with two lines of energy radiating outward from your center. This is a simple Yoga Posture with a wonderful stretch in which one line of energy reaches upward from your belly and outward through the arm, and one line travels downward through the legs.
Hand ClenchingHands and wrists are common body parts which are affected by Arthritis, especially Osteoarthritis. Take good care of your hands and joints and always keep them in 'good working condition' by performing the Hand Clenching Exercise.
Wrist BendingYour wrists can also be affected by arthritis, specifically Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Take good care of your wrists through stretching and bending. Learn how to improve the range of motion of your wrists by doing the Wrist Bending Exercise.
Ankle BendingRepeated strain or sprain in the ankles can contribute to the occurrence of Ankle Arthritis. Manage stress and keep your ankles in good condition through therapy, having enough rest, and by doing the Ankle Bending Exercise.
Ankle RotationPay attention to your ankles to avoid muscle or tendon strain due to too much training. Perform the Ankle Rotation Exercise and make your ankles more flexible. This is also ideal for people who are suffering from arthritis.
YOGA ASANAS FOR ARTHRITIS
- Inhaling slowly through the nostrils bring right hand to the back. Bend it at the right elbow and then raise the back of the palm up towards the neck. In this process the back of the palm is pressed against the spine. The fingers of the right hand face upwards.
- Now raise left hand upwards bending at the elbow and put the left palm on the left shoulder. Then, first try to touch the fingers of the left hand with the right hand. If there is any difficulty in touching the fingers to some individuals, they should try as much as possible and then stay there.
- Try to raise the elbow of the left hand straight upwards (with the lock). Breathe normally. This is a Gomukh Asana.
- Retain this locked position for about 30 sec. You can either hold the posture while the breath is held or you can try holding the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils. If you choose to breath, then hold the posture for thirty seconds to a minute.
- While releasing the posture, loosen the grip on the fingers and then unlock the fingers gradually. Then slowly bring both the hands on the thighs and rest.
Santulan Asana has curative and corrective effects upon the knees, ankles, shoulder joints, wrists, palms and fingers. It removes rigidity and brings flexibility to the major joints of the body normalizing the blood circulation in the affected areas and tones up the muscles so pain in the joints is corrected.
- Standing up on the right leg, bend the left leg at the knee. Bring the heel of the left leg near the hip. If the heel cannot be brought nearer the hip due to pain in the knee, fold the leg backward as much as possible.
- Grab the toes of the left leg with the left hand holding all the toes with the palm properly. Bring heel of the bended leg to the buttock.
- Now slowly raise the right hand firmly up towards the sky with palm in the straightforward position.
- Retain this position for 6 to 8 seconds. Keep the lifted hand tight and firm. The right leg on which you are standing should be tight and straight. Keep looking straight and breathe normally.
- Slowly bring the lifted hand down, keeping it in a tight condition. Do not drop the hand. When the raised hand has reached the side, release the left leg to come on the floor. Now rest for some time and do further rounds alternately by following the same process.
This asana strengthens the abdominal and vertebral muscles. It is good for patients suffering from arthritis, stiff back, respiratory disorders, diabetes and constipation.
- Lie on your back gently, bend both the legs at the knees and bring your feet near the tips. While inhaling, slowly raise hands and shoulders and try to touch the knees. Retain this posture for a few seconds.
- While exhaling, return to the starting position.
- Stand up firmly on the left leg and fold the right leg at the knee, raise the right thigh and bring the sole of the right foot as high up the inside of the left thigh as possible. Right foot will be twisted slightly pressing its side against left thigh. Do not press the thigh with the heel but with its sides.
- Balance on the left foot and raise both arms over the head keeping the elbows unbent and joining the palms together. The whole body right from the heels to the fingers of the hands is stretched upward. Hold the posture while breathing gently through the nostrils for about 10 complete breaths.
- Release the pose exhaling, lower the arms and right leg and return to the tad-asana, standing position with feet together and arms at the sides. Rest for a few seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
- Lie flat on your back, bend your legs at the knees and bring your feet near the hips. Interlock the fingers of both your hands and keep them under the head.
- Now exhale and put a little pressure on the waist. Twist your knees to the right, simultaneously turning your head and neck to the left. Maintain normal breathing.
- Again, while exhaling, twist the knees to the left turning the head and neck to the right. Repeat this three to four times on each side. Return to the normal position and then relax. Like Katichalana (cross leg-twisting pose) lie in Shavasana, bring legs together and hands together.
- Fold both your legs and cross right over the left. Inter-locks finger of both your hands and keep them under your head. Look towards the left and vice versa. Change the leg, left over the right. While exhaling, twist the leg right and look at left and vice versa. Maintain the final position for a minute, breathe normally and return in reverse order.
- Lie down in Shavasana posture. Raise your knees and bring your feet nearer to the hips keeping them apart. Keep your hands near the thighs.
- While inhaling, raise your hips and hands upwards simultaneously. Keep your hands over your head on the floor.
- Bring back your hands and hips to the original position while exhaling. Repeat three to four times and relax.
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