Arthritis, a condition we all have heard about multiple times, but what exactly is arthritis? Arthritis is a medical condition that results in inflammation of joints. The joints tend to swell and it makes it difficult and extremely painful for any kind of movement. It is so believed that only an aged person is affected by Arthritis but in reality, Arthritis is not an age bound condition. Anybody, young and old can fall prey to arthritis.  There are over 100 different types of arthritis with varying symptoms and treatments. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common type of arthritis that people are affected with. The pain usually varies from mild, medium to extreme. It is a condition that is more common among women than men.

Now, what are the symptoms of Arthritis? How does one know that they are suffering from it?

The symptoms could range from joint pains, fever, gland swelling, difficulty in movement, body pain, deformity and so on. There are various causes of Arthritis. The general and the most common factor is wear and tear of joints which comes with old age and also extreme physical activity, which is known as Osteoarthritis. A reduction in the regular amount of cartilage (tissue that connects the joints) also leads to arthritis. Another cause is when the immune system attacks the tissues of the body and affects the joints, making them weak and inflamed. This type of Arthritis is the autoimmune disorder.

Now that we have understood what arthritis is, the symptoms and the causes, let’s take a look at how Yoga helps in healing arthritis. Yoga involves stretching of body muscles. A certain amount of stretching could help in relieving the pain to a certain degree. Deep breathing is also recommended for people suffering from arthritis as it involves chest expansion and oxygenates the body and mind. But, keep in mind, if it feels like a stretch and helps in relieving pain, continue with the pose. It is always advisable to consult a doctor before beginning your Yoga practice for arthritis.

Let’s discuss some poses to help relieve the arthritis pain:

1) SuryaNamaskar or Sun Salutation is one of the most beneficial poses for people with arthritis. It is meditative, helps in the flexibility of the spine and also stretches the spine.

2) Child pose is one of the gentle poses that helps in stretching the lower back, in turn improving the flexibility of the spine and hips. To practice the child pose, sit on your knees, making sure the knees are a little apart, while the big toes touch together.  Slowly bend down, while placing your arms at the back, together in alignment with your feet.
3) Another pose that helps in improving the posture and stretching of the spine is the cat and cow pose. To practice this pose, bend and sit on your knees and place the arms on the floor. Keep your back straight and flat as a table top. Now slowly breathe in and make an arch by bending your spine. Make sure your chin is tucked towards your chin. Breathe out and release the pose. Repeat it a few times.
These are a few simple poses that could be practiced without causing too much pain instead help in relieving the pain and further improving the posture and keeping one active.

However, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor for regular check-ups to understand the kind of arthritis and the intensity of the condition. Yoga can help in healing and reducing the pain but not completely eradicating the condition. Keep stretching and keep smiling!

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