Best chair yoga poses for osteoarthritis joint pain relief
Joint pain is one of the most common ailments that Indians suffer from. One of these forms of joint pain is osteoarthritis, a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by the degeneration of the cartilage of the joint. The reasons for joint pain or osteoarthritis can range from a sedentary lifestyle and obesity to increasing age and lifting heavy loads. It mostly affects weight-bearing joints like the knees and hip and in some cases the spine and fingers as well. Commonly known as the ‘wear and tear’ disease, its prevalence in India stands at 4.39% and India is touted to become the osteoarthritis capital of the world by 2025 with approximately 60 million cases.
If you are suffering from joint pain and don’t wish to let it escalate into a debilitating disease that hampers your routine, you must integrate low-impact exercises like Chair Yoga in your lifestyle. Most people who suffer from painful joints think that exercise increases their pain but the fact is that inactivity causes the joints more damage as it weakens the muscles and ligaments. The key to exercise during joint pain is to not overdo it. Hence, Chair Yoga proves to be one of the ideal forms of exercise as using a chair assists you in performing the asanas with ease and without pressuring your joints.
Some of the Chair Yoga asanas you can perform are:
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – Be it hunching over the laptop at work or slouching on the sofa at home, our neck, back and shoulders always bear the brunt of our incorrect posture. However, the camel pose is a boon to strengthen the neck, shoulder and back and provide pain relief. It helps improve posture, increases blood circulation and makes your spine more flexible thereby increasing its range of mobility.
Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana) – If you spend a lot of time sitting and feel tension in your neck, back and shoulders, this is a good pose to begin with. It helps to strengthen and increase flexibility of the spine thus helping you advance to more complex poses. The cat stretch improves the flexibility of the neck and releases tension from the neck and upper back. The cow pose makes use of the tailbone and helps increase flexibility to bend forward.
Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana) – As the name head-to-knee suggests, this asana is a forward bending pose that focuses on the back and legs. It stretches the spine and shoulders and relieves muscle tension. The forward bending also helps provide a deep stretch to the hips. The practice of this asana also stretches the hamstring thus strengthening your calves.
Before doing these select poses, perform SukshmaVyayam or light yogic exercises that are characterized by rhythmic and repetitive stretching movements. They improve blood circulation to the joints and get rid of toxins. Some of these include stretching your fingers and toes, circling your feet clockwise and anticlockwise to open up the ankles, stretching your legs ahead in front of you, lifting your knees, performing shoulder rolls and moving your hands back and forth like in swim strokes. SukshmaVyayam is best performed in the morning as it helps get rid of joint stiffness and preps you up to take on daily tasks.
It is advised to consult your physiotherapist before you begin these exercises. To get better relief from joint pain, massage your joints with an Ayurvedic ingredient based oil like Zandu Ortho Vedic Oil. It is made with 5 classical oils and over a 100 Ayurvedic ingredients and shows visible improvement in joint pain within 7 days of regular application.