Yoga for Arthritis Video: Hip Arthritis

by Melissa West on December 5, 2011

An estimated 50 million adults in the United States reported being told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. One in five (22%) adults in the United States report having doctor diagnosed arthritis. In 2007–2009, 50% of adults 65 years or older reported an arthritis diagnosis. By 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis_related_stats.htm)

These are some serious numbers! When I asked our Namaste Yogi’s what the biggest problem they faced in their life that yoga could help them with, many of them responded, arthritis. The number one piece of advice that The Arthritis Society(http://www.arthritis.ca/)  gives to those with arthritis is to exercise regularly. Yoga is a form of exercise that helps to increase range of motion in the joints, and moves the muscles and joints that bear weight so that they will not lose strength or mobility.Before you start any exercise program you need to talk to your medical doctor about what exercises are appropriate for your particular arthritis and what precautions you should take when exercising.There are many forms of arthritis from fibromyalgia to scleroderma, but let’s focus on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused by wear and tear on the joints. As the cartilage in the joints erodes, the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones wears away causing bone to rub against bone and joint inflammation.Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the synovial lining of the joint. It is also an inflammatory arthritis that causes swelling and stiffness in the joint.

The series of yoga videos that I will offer for arthritis (starting with hips) will cover three important things.

  1. Breath
  2. Range of Motion
  3. Strengthen and lengthen the ares surrounding the joint.
Why is breath so important? When we are in pain we tend to breathe more shallowly. By deepening our breath we will send more oxygenated blood to all areas of our body, including the inflamed parts. This helps healing. Increasing the Range of Motion is the second major strategy. When the soft tissues of the joints swell, it causes compression and reduces even further the space in the joint. Moving the joints not only creates more space in the joint but also increases the lubrication of the joint. With the decreased movement that comes with arthritis, the muscles and soft tissues around the joints shorten putting even more wear and tear on the joints and gliding surfaces. When the joints are inflamed they will rely on the supportive strength of the muscles around them. Strong muscles around the joint helps to absorb shock, support the joints and protect them from injury. Check out my yoga for arthritis series starting with Yoga for Arthritis, Hips.

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