Tags: Arthritis | rheumatoid arthritis | yoga | risks | benefits

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Risks and Benefits of Yoga

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016 05:09 PM

Physical activity is essential for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and yoga is an ideal exercise to promote joint health, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.

The center points out that research suggests yoga provides improvement in physical, emotional, and mental well-being for people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Arthritis sufferers may even enjoy yoga more than traditional types of exercise.

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The risks of yoga for people with rheumatoid arthritis involve certain poses and being careful if something begins to hurt, Johns Hopkins explains. They advise participants to be gentle when starting out with yoga.

Arthritis patients learn to stop a particular exercise or pose if it begins to hurt. If they find there is no pain after a few days of starting yoga, they can go on to gradually increase the intensity of each pose.

Backbends in yoga should be kept small and arthritis patients should avoid overextending the neck during certain poses to keep their head in line with the spine, Johns Hopkins notes. They recommend consulting a doctor or yoga instructor if any pain is experienced through yoga exercises.

A six-week study on the effects of yoga on women with rheumatoid arthritis showed the exercise had a positive impact, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Dr. Subhadra Evans, a researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center, conducted the small study using Iyengar yoga, which includes chairs and other objects to help with balance.

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After filling out questionnaires and talking to researchers, the participants revealed they were able to deal with their pain better after the yoga program.

“They were able to get through daily activities much more effectively, and had much more energy,” Evans told the Arthritis Foundation.

Yoga may work well for rheumatoid arthritis because it does not require as much pressure on the joints as other types of exercise, Everyday Health reports. Yoga usually includes low-impact exercises that keep the joints mobile and flexible.

People with rheumatoid arthritis are advised to check with their rheumatologist to determine the best and safest exercises when beginning yoga. A skilled yoga instructor can help patients with the right equipment and methods to use, according to Steffany Moonaz, a yoga therapist in Baltimore.

“Each student has to find the modifications that will allow them to get the most benefit from their practice without exacerbating their joint discomfort,” Moonaz told Everyday Health.

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Physical activity is essential for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and yoga is an ideal exercise to promote joint health, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.
rheumatoid arthritis, yoga, risks, benefits
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2016-09-19
Tuesday, 19 Apr 2016 05:09 PM
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