Anyone who deals with arthritis will tell you that simple pain medication isn’t always enough to manage symptoms, especially when the weather is cold and wet, or your body is tired after strenuous movement or exercise.
Luckily, there are a few other tricks you can try to alleviate pain associated with arthritis, and one of them is yoga.
Increasing your body’s movement and activity is always a good way to help combat arthritis pain, but it’s important that you’re careful with the movements your body makes. If you jump on a treadmill or a stationary bike for an hour, you likely won’t feel much relief. In fact, your pain may become worse.
Yoga is all about practicing movements that strengthen and relax your body. Gentle, repetitive movements can help you build strength while not straining your bones.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, a few studies have been performed to learn about the benefits of yoga for people with arthritis and the initial results are promising.
If you’re a new to yoga, you’ll want to start out slow. Some of the poses can feel a little weird the first time you try them, and you don’t want to strain your body. If you’re not feeling it, try a moderated version of the pose.
Start out with sun salutations, says Everyday Health. Standing with your arms crossed across your chest, reach up and look at the sky and then bend your body in half, wrapping your arms around your calves if you can. Then, move into downward facing dog, hold it for a few minutes and swing up into a cobra pose.
Repeating these movements will stretch out your whole body and wake up your muscles. You’ll also enjoy increased flexibility and a great spinal stretch.
Child’s pose is great for stretching out your lower back. Drop down onto your knees, spread them wide, and bring your big toes together. Sit back on your hips onto your feet or heels, and reach your arms forward on the ground. Focus on your breathing.
Angry Cat/Cow Pose
For another great back and full body stretch, start in cow pose by getting down on all fours with your hands shoulder-length apart. Spread your fingers wide and bring your chest forward, bending your shoulder blades down towards your waist. Then, pull your belly button in and up, rounding your spine and arching your back. Breathe deeply while you switch from one pose to the other and back again.