Does yoga help against osteoarthritis?

Yoga is an ancient practice that comes from India. It is considered a lifestyle rather than a sport or physical activity. The proven benefits of yoga are many and varied: from maintaining proper posture to helping us deal with daily stress and various illnesses.

Next, we’ll find out how yoga helps against osteoarthritis. In this sense, we will see what are the symptoms of this disease that yoga could help alleviate, as well as some simple routines that we can do at home.

What is osteoarthritis?

Woman with knee pain from arthritis.
Osteoarthritis can cause pain in the area, as well as inflammation and stiffness, among other symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease right away more frequently by those over the age of 60, but it can occur in people of any age, mainly adults.

This disease it affects the musculoskeletal system and compromises the health of the joints in particular. The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • Pain when making movements.
  • Sensitivity in the area.
  • Swelling and stiffness.
  • Loss of flexibility.
  • Synovitis.
  • Deformity.
  • Inflammation.
  • Osteophytes.

There are various risk factors associated with osteoarthritis.such as age, gender (women are more prone), obesity, injury, stress or overexertion (in sports and work activities), as well as genetic factors and some metabolic diseases, for example hemochromatosis.

arthrosis It is a disease that develops slowly and progressively, e affects the quality of life of those who suffer from it. To date, there is no cure.

Treatment targets the symptomsmainly, and can be divided into: surgery (joint replacement surgery), drugs (painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections), physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

In addition, there are some habits that contribute to the treatment of osteoarthritis and which can help manage its symptoms, as well as possibly prevent its progression..

Can Yoga Help Improve Osteoarthritis Symptoms?

Practicing yoga is among the activities that could help improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. In this regard, the benefits of yoga are related to various factors, such as:

  • Strength and grip.
  • Flexibility.
  • Balance.
  • Stress management.
  • Sense of well-being.
  • Life quality.

As, yoga is recommended as a complementary therapy to conventional treatments for osteoarthritis. But does this have scientific support? Let’s see what the research says about it.

Research on yoga in the treatment of osteoarthritis

Stretching after exercise.
There is controversy over yoga’s purported benefits in relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

In a revision conducted in 2019 on the effectiveness of yoga for the treatment of osteoarthritis, studies on the subject were analyzed. These included 640 patients aged 50 to 80, predominantly women, with osteoarthritis of the lower limbs.

The findings revealed little evidence of the positive effects of yoga for treating pain. in osteoarthritis compared to other exercises. Nor has conclusive evidence been found of its effects on quality of life. However, researchers consider the use of yoga advisable in knee osteoarthritis.

On this particular, in another revision A meta-analysis of the integrative effect of yoga practice in patients with knee osteoarthritis was performed. The review focused on aspects such as pain reduction, functional recovery and general well-being of patients suffering from this disorder in the aforementioned joint.

In total, 13 clinical studies were reviewed, involving 1,557 patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The results indicate it yoga group training Is useful to reduce arthritic symptoms, promote physical function, and elevate overall well-being.

With specific regard to clinical trials, in a study The effect of the Integrated Approach Yoga Therapy (IAYT) was studied on 66 patients aged between 30 and 75 years, also diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis.

The results obtained in the experimental group, which received the IAYT intervention, demonstrate this there were significant improvements in LHGS (hand grip strength test, left hand) and knee extensioncompared to the control group.

Finally, in a study on the effects of Hatha Yoga on knee osteoarthritis, it was found that, after eight weeks of exercises of this modality, the results showed that pain and other symptoms decreased, as well as improved performance of daily activities and quality of life.

Yoga for osteoarthritis patients

There are various forms of yoga. however, the Arthritis Foundation has some recommendations, since some types of yoga are considered more appropriate for arthritis patients. Among them are: iyengar, anusara, kripalu and viniyoga.

Also, most notably, there are certain yoga routines, exercises, and postures that we can perform to ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Among them are the following:

mountain pose

Mountain pose is a very simple exercise. Start with toes together and heels slightly apart. While breathe deeply, opening your chestThe hands are placed, palm to palm, at heart level. These are then raised above the head and the head is pointed towards the sky.


The warrior is a yoga exercise in which the abdominal muscles, legs and buttocks are worked. It is done like this: standing still, the feet are separated so that there is about one meter and twenty (1.20) between the heel of the one in front and the big toe of the one behind.

Then the leg is turned (to the right if it is right and vice versa) and the knee is bent forming an angle of 90°. The hands are then raised, palms together, as high as possible. Take a deep breath and switch legs.

cobbler pose

This exercise is done sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Then, bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet together and trying to bring your heels together towards the pelvis.

The knees are dropped to the sides, without forcing them down; that is, without trying to open more. This position is held for one minute; then the legs are straightened and the feet return to their original position.

staff pose

Start in a position similar to the previous one: sitting on the floor, with legs together and straight, knees without bending. If you need it and it feels more comfortable, you can place a mat to sit on.

The back must remain firm and straight.. Hands at sides, palms facing forward. Likewise, the feet must be straight, with the sole also facing forward. Stay in this position for one minute.

So yoga against osteoarthritis: yes or no?

One of the hardest yoga poses.
Before starting yoga practice, a medical consultation is recommended.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, yoga is a complementary therapy that can be considered an alternative. But yoga cannot replace the treatment recommended by the doctor.

It is more appropriate to seek out a professional trainer who has experience working with people with similar symptoms. Furthermore, we must ask the doctor what exercises can be performed.

On the other hand, let’s remember that Yoga classes include three parts or moments What we must take into account to get the maximum benefit:

  • Consciousness and breathing techniques.
  • Movements of strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Relaxation and meditation.

Also, as in any other exercise, yoga practice should start slowly and remain gentle until you feel the body warm up. Therefore, it is important to make sure you warm up first.

Finally, it is essential to listen to the body and pay attention to the signals. If you feel pain or discomfort, it means you should stop. The idea is to reduce pain and improve quality of life, not the other way around.

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