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  • Writer's pictureSammi @ Unwind

How Yoga Helps Joint Pain

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

  • Joint pain

  • Back pain

  • Muscular pain

  • Abdominal problems (e.g. Gastritis)

Ever suffer from any of these? Yoga can be the tool you have been looking for to help you feel better - and it has been shown to work very well indeed!

Yoga is more than exercise

Yoga is a practice that involves the mind and body, including the combination of poses (aimed to stretch and strengthen the body) with relaxation, meditation, and deep breathing.

There are SO many types of yoga, ranging from fast-paced to gentle.

So, why would yoga be a good tool for those of you who answered ‘yes’ to the question above?

Well, research says it is! In 2021, Pandey found that yoga improves and managed pain. Out of a group of 24 participants who experienced neck, muscular, joint, or back pain and who took part in a yoga intervention

  • 29% experienced high improvement in pain

  • 21% experienced moderate improvement in pain and

  • 50% experienced mild improvement in pain

ARGH - Pain! I don't want to move!

If you are experiencing joint pain why should you be moving your joints at all? Surely that will make it worse? Well, to put it plain and simple: not moving your joints will make them feel worse, so movement is key, and here is why:

To reduce joint pain and maintain joint flexibility you need to regularly move the joints. Exercise not only helps maintain and improve your joints, but also increases the strength of the protecting muscles surrounding the joints. If you have osteoarthritis though, you must have a low-impact exercise regime that reduces the likelihood of joints jarring or getting further injured.

Yoga is one of the solutions to this, as yoga both PREVENTS injury, and also increases your recovery rate. It does this by healing the inflammation in your joints, muscles, and deep tissue. Connective tissue restores, and yoga students increase their body awareness, leading to less injury.

Benefits of yoga for joint pain
  • Strengthens muscles around the joints keeping them flexible and strong, but doesn’t put any further pressure on them

  • Teaches you the alignment of the skeleton, so that joint pain caused by misalignment can be relieved

  • Strengthens and lubricates the spine

  • Improves posture

  • Improves breath awareness

  • Teaches you relaxation techniques and meditation- both help with stress

  • Teaches you breathing techniques, that can help manage flare ups of osteoarthritis

  • Prevents or combats inflammation in the body

Research on joint pain and yoga

A yoga intervention was created for breast cancer survivors, and they experienced more improvement in joint pain, sleep disturbance, and tiredness in comparison to those who did not get the yoga treatment.

Children with cystic fibrosis were also studied to see if a yoga therapy would help decrease pain and anxiety levels. This therapy contained 30 body postures (aka: asanas), and 6 one-to-one sessions with each child over a period of 10-weeks.

Children's anxiety levels went from 29 before to a fantastic 23.6 after the yoga therapy . Similarly, joint pain scores improved from 3.25 to 3.65.

So, yoga is a valuable, safe complementary therapy for children or teenagers with cystic fibrosis, experiencing both joint pain and anxiety in relation to their health, education or social lives.

But, it is not just yoga that could be a helpful hand on your healing journey....