World Arthritis Day is earmarked October 12, every year since 1996 to raise awareness about this chronic inflammatory condition throughout the world and encourage people into adopting a healthier lifestyle.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis can be defined as the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints within the body. It is an umbrella term that describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues.The main symptoms of arthritis are usually characterised by joint pain and stiffness, swelling, inflammation, redness and decreased range of motion.
Although the common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, other types include gout, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, and thumb arthritis. While osteoarthritis usually happens due to wear and tear of the cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue that encapsulates the ends of the bones where they form a joint), rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic auto-immune inflammatory condition wherein the body's immune system attack the joints, beginning with the lining of joint capsule causing painful swelling that can ultimately result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The theme for World Arthritis Day for the year 2020 is a continuation of the 2019 theme i.e. "Time2Work" which chiefly focusses to deliver a message to all the companies or employers to be more sensitive to the needs of employees living with arthritis. Sitting at the desk for a good portion of the day might seem appealing for someone with arthritis. But, regular movement is extremely necessary for keeping the joints agile and movable. So, employers should help out the employees diagnosed with arthritis by allowing them to take breaks, move around, provide them with ergonomic devices like an ergonomic chair, keyboard rest, a pillow to support the back etc.
This article highlights on alternative practices that can help one prevent or manage arthritis.
In Ayurveda, arthritis is defined as a condition that stems from the vitiation of the Vata doshas within the joints. With more and more people resorting to alternative treatments and therapies, people often prefer to go the natural way before taking any medications or go for surgical procedures. One such ageless practice is Yogasana which is literally the answer to most health anomalies. Being an ancient and spiritual form of exercise, Yoga not only slowly mitigates stiffness and inflammation from the various parts of the body but also releases tension from the muscles and joints, improving overall posture and equilibrium.
So, break free from the lethargic lifestyle and practice these simple, easy to do yogasanas to get relief from Arthritis:
1. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Stand straight on the floor. Bring both your arms in front of the chest and join the palms in a prayer position. Now keeping the palms joined, stretch both your arms upwards. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on the interior side of the left thigh. Keep your left leg straight and hold the position as long as you can. Relax for a minute and do it on the other side with the left foot. Repeat 5 times.
The Tree Pose has innumerable benefits. Not only does it improve the spinal column and enhance both balance and poise but also expands the shoulders and improves blood circulation. When practiced regularly, it provides great relief from arthritis.
2. Veerabhadrasana (Warrior pose)
Stand straight on the ground looking in the forward direction. Move your feet about 4 inches apart in the forward direction. Turn your left foot out by 90 degrees and right foot in by about 15 degrees. Lift both the arms sideways till it levels with the shoulders. While breathing out, bend your left knee. Slowly turn your head and look to the left. Keep breathing and stretch your hands further apart. Gently push your pelvis down and hold the posture with the determination of a warrior. Repeat with the other side with the right foot forward. Do it 3-4 times keeping a minute in between for relaxation.
The warrior pose improves balance of the whole body and increases stamina. It provides an amazing stretch to all the muscles and tendons of the body and is truly effective against different types of arthritis.
3. Sethubandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Start the posture by lying flat on your back. Now bend your knees and elbows. Place your feet flat on the floor close to the hips and your hands firmly on either side of the head. While supporting both your hands and legs on the ground, slowly try to lift your body up into the air. Hold this arching posture for 20-30 secs and slowly bring your body up into a standing pose.
This is an extremely beneficial posture for relieving arthritic pain and strengthening the leg, thigh and back muscles. Not only does it treat hip and back pain but also helpful in case of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
4. Marjariasana (Cat Pose)
Bend on your knees and keep your head straight. Inhale deeply and lift your chin while pushing back your head a bit. Keep your buttocks firm and hold the posture for 30 seconds or as long as comfortable, while breathing deeply. Breathe out and bring your chin close to your chest. Relax your buttocks and arch the back as much as comfortably possible. Hold for some time and repeat the posture for 3 more times.
The cat pose brings flexibility and strength to the entire body including the spine, wrists and shoulders. It improves blood circulation, stretches the back and shoulders and makes the spine flexible. It also helps in releasing endorphins, which induce a feeling of relaxation within the mind and body, therefore relieving pain from all the joints.
5. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Stand straight while keeping your feet joined. Rest your hands on either side of the body. Slowly spread your legs apart. Lift your right hand up. Take a deep breath and bend towards your left and balance by keeping the left palm on the floor. Tilt your head upwards and fix your gaze on the right-hand fingertips and count up to 20. Repeat the posture while bending towards right. Take 1 minute of rest and continue the entire posture for two more times.