Any kind of chronic arthritis or spondylosis is a disabling condition. Recurrent stiffness, pain and or swelling of the joints or back bone trouble the individual and also reduce his capacity to work.
Drug treatment given in form of anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDS or corticosteroids provides only temporary relief and over a long time leads to undesirable side effects.
Yoga has simple exercises which are very beneficial for these patients.
Those who have been doing these exercises for long keep good health and do not suffer much from arthritis. Even in acute attacks, the symptoms are mild and subside with no or minimal treatment.
One does not need to go to any particular place or exterior for doing, “yoga”. No material is required, not much space is needed. One just needs to put a mat to sit or stand upon. Only condition is it should be done on empty stomach or2 hours after any major meal.
Each movement should commence while taking a deep breath and should finish with expiration. This is said to help one concentrate more on the exercise and provides greater benefit.
A very simple exercise, as shown (right) is to lie down straight and elevate the legs straight up at 90 degrees, with hands supporting the hips.
This exercise makes the body flexible and toned up, thus reducing risk of stiffening. It also strengthens the back muscles.
One can sit straight or stand straight, with arms outstretched straight in front. Initially fingers are flexed and extended 5 to 10 times, then the hands are flexed and extended, to be followed by rotation of wrists both clock wise and anti clock wise directions. This exercise is very useful for people suffering from arthritis
Another series of exercise is- one sits on the mat straight with the arms kept on the sides. Initially the toes are flexed and extended for about 5 to 10 times, then the feet are flexed and extended (Fig2A). This ensures flexibility of joints.
After this you have to put your right leg across left knee, hold foot with left hand and slowly rotate the foot both clock wise and anti-clock wise about at least 5 times.
Then hold the right foot and leg straight with the left foot and with the right hand rotate the right knee both clock-wise and anti - clock-wise at least 5 times as shown in Fig-2B,
Same series of movements can then be repeated with the left leg crossed over right leg. This exercise is very useful to maintain flexibility of knees and legs and prevents or minimizes arthritis
This exercise is continued by another exercise. One sits on the mat with knees flexed and both feet facing one another, held by both hands.
Feet are placed as close to the perineum as possible. Feet are kept fixed and one tries to touch the knees to the ground. Those who do it for long regularly are able to touch the ground with the knees, but for others, they should do only what is possible comfortably.
This movement can be started from 5 to 10 times and increased up to 50 to 100 times. This entire series of exercise when done regularly is valuable for arthritis and also cures constipation.
It has added advantage of preventing enlargement of prostrate in men in old age, helps women to get relief in menstrual problems.
All these exercises have to be done slowly without any jerks otherwise they can be harmful. Number and time should be increased slowly. Relaxation is must after exercise to stabilize the internal physiology.
Relaxation can be in the form of simple deep breathing done in either sitting or standing positions. Another way of relaxation is to maintain position like a dead person.
In this a person lies down supine with his limbs kept loose at sides. Mind should be kept focused on good, positive things and if possible, made thoughtless.
Total relaxation achieved in this way also helps provide relief in arthritis.
Patients of arthritis can start doing these simple exercises. But regularity is the key word to get results.