A new study done in Johns Hopkins Medicine has shown that Yoga can be safe and effective in persons who have arthritis. The study showed that the eight weeks of yoga classes improved the physical symptoms as well as mental well being in patients of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The study has been published in the April issue of Rheumatology.
The study was randomized trial of people osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis has found that yoga can be safe and effective for people with arthritis.
The study is said to ne largest randomized trial so far that examines the effect of yoga on people with arthritis.
There is a spike of interest in yoga as complementary therapy and researchers believe that yoga may well suited to people with arthritis because it combines physical activity with potent stress managemen. Yoga also offers relaxation techniques, and focuses on respecting limitations.
Two common form of arthritis affect almost 20 percent of the people and most of people are under 65 years of age.
Unmanaged, arthritis can lead to decrease in mobility, chronic pain and affects overall health and well-being. Limitation of activity may prevent persons from participating in many desired activities.
The goal of treatment in arthritis is improve symptoms and mobility, and to provide quality of life as there is no cure for the disease.
But it has been found that up to 90% of people with arthritis are less active than public health guidelines suggest.
Yoga and Arthritis – The Study
The study recruited 75 people with either knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Participants were randomly assigned to two groups – a wait list or eight weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes, plus a weekly practice session at home.
Physical and mental wellbeing of the participants were assessed before and after the yoga session. The trial was blinded as the researchers did not know which group the participants had been assigned to.
Yoga and Arthritis – The Results
Researchers found that as compared with the control group, those who did yoga reported a 20% improvement in pain, energy levels, mood and physical function, including their ability to complete physical tasks at work and home.
The participants also reported improved walking speed though that was slight.
No difference was found in the balance and upper body strength.
Follow up after nine months showed the benefits to be present still.
Yoga and Arthritis – Safety Issue
The authors took the study as yoga has been found beneficial in other health conditions in terms of improvement in pain, pain-related disability and mood but there were no well-controlled trial of yoga that could tell us if it was safe and effective for people with arthritis.
So safety was always a concern especially when health professionals held belief that yoga migh affect vulnerable joints due to changing positions.
Participants were screened by their doctors prior to joining the study, and continued to take their regular arthritis medication during the study.
The researchers have developed a safety checklist before doctor could recommend yoga to patients. The patients should talk to their doctors before including yoga in their routine.
The researchers advise to start gently and then move gradually from that point.
- S. H. Moonaz, C. O. Bingham, L. Wissow, S. J. Bartlett. Yoga in Sedentary Adults with Arthritis: Effects of a Randomized Controlled Pragmatic Trial. The Journal of Rheumatology, 2015; 42 (7): 1194 DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.141129
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