Yoga and Arthritis
How can Yoga help?
Yoga poses provide relief to stiff and damaged joints. Yoga’s controlled movements and gentle pressures reach deep into troubled joints.
In addition, the controlled stretches in conjunction with deep breathing exercises, relax and release the muscles that have seized up around the joints to protect them.
If you are looking for arthritis relief or prevention, look no further than yoga.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis affects the joints—the areas in the body where two or more bones meet. In addition, there are several different parts of the joint that may be affected by arthritis, such as, cartilage, synovium, tendons, and muscles. The neighboring ends of bones that form the joints are covered by a soft, protective material called cartilage that cushions the bones and keeps them from rubbing together. The joint is also enclosed in a capsule and lined with a tissue called synovium. The synovium releases a slippery fluid that lubricates the joints and helps them to move freely. Finally, tendons and muscles can contribute strong support to the structure of the joint and are responsible for moving it. When a person has arthritis, each of these areas can be affected in some very specific ways. Perhaps even less well-known is the fact that arthritis can also affect other parts of the body including the skin, eyes, internal organs, and mouth.
Main Types of Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a specific type of the arthritis that causes inflammation of the joints due to abnormalities in the body’s own defense system against infection, the immune system.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting both men and women as they grow older. Because the disease causes pain and stiffness as bones and cartilage progressively break down, osteoarthritis is also sometimes called "degenerative arthritis."
Usually affecting women, fibromyalgia is a condition that affects the muscles at their attachments to bones. Although the condition is often characterized by painful, tender points in areas of the body that are more susceptible to pain, the disease does not do actual damage to muscles or joints.
Osteoporosis Affecting approximately 25 million Americans and about 80% women, osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose their solid mass and become brittle. This deterioration in the bone can lead to consequences on the body including fractures as well as loss of height and a rounding of the shoulders.