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Yoga to Get Relief from Knee Pain

Aug 27, 2019

Introduction

Knee pain is a degenerative disease of the joints which mainly affects old adults. The severity of knee pain may result in risk factors such as osteoarthritis and disability. Osteoarthritis is a primary reason for pain as it limits the range of motion and loss of joint movement in adults and hence can cause pain in the knee. Knee pain is characterized by pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Getting rid of knee pain through yoga

Yoga is an ancient Indian science and way of life that talks about the origins of diseases. It describes the mechanism of suppressed emotions that filter gradually into the physical body and manifest as diseases. Yoga is advancing as an effective therapeutic tool in physical and psychological disorders. Yoga offers relaxation components that help with the reduction of pain and also improves strength and balance. It is recommended to engage in moderate physical activity in order to reduce the risks of arthritis-related disability. Yoga is gentle and adaptable to the needs and limitations of old adults.

Knee pain is mainly caused by the activation of fibers associated with pain in the joint ligaments and capsules and also decreased muscle spasm and decreased muscular stamina. The experience of pain is associated with key processes that include cognitive and behavioral factors. The recognition of the power of yoga in dealing with knee pain has been gaining popularity in recent years because of its integrated approach which helps in dealing with the pain from different levels including breathing, behavioural change through emotional engagement with an individual which then induces lifestyle changes, intellectual introspection, meditation, and physical practises that help relieve pain at the joint level. 

A growing body of research has demonstrated the effectiveness of physical activities involved in yoga in improving muscle mobility, strength, flexibility, and coordination in individuals that are affected by knee pain. Yoga is more effective because of creating a meditative body awareness that helps position the body correctly at rest and during movement. The other factor that contributes to the effectiveness of yoga in pain management is its stress-reducing effect through meditation.
According to research conducted by Ebenezer and Cheung, yoga helps to get rid of knee pain through different techniques such as the ones highlighted below:

Loosening and strengthening practices- These are repetitive rhythmic stretches and movements. It is a safe practice used to mobilize and strengthen targeted muscles. Exercises are a core aspect for a person with knee pain as they improve strength, physical function, and joint tenderness. Yoga has been clinically used as a therapeutic intervention for improving strength, posture, balance, and flexibility in older adults. Yoga is effective in getting rid of knee pain as it can be practiced at home safely without supervision. Exercises enhance and maintain muscle strength, physical strength, and overall health.

Hatha yoga- It is a physical form of yoga that reduces pain and stiffness associated with knee pain. It re-aligns the skeletal structure and strengthens muscles around joints. Yoga helps the knee’s functional status without increasing pain, delays the development of osteoarthritis and also boosts the cartilage tissue. By keeping the muscles active, they become properly conditioned and also helps to shed off the burdened weight on the knees through exercising.

Physical posture- Yoga uses supportive props and strictly designed sequences of postures to address an individual specific medical issue.  The concept of yoga is that it should not irritate the nervous system. Physical posture strengthens knee joints and has effortless maintenance. Yoga has the potential to be effective in the reduction of knee pain. Physical exercises such as squatting and lunging can potentially reduce exposure to high knee adduction moments and consequently reduce knee pain by improving the knee extensor strength. The two mechanisms need high activation amplitudes of quadriceps muscle with minimal KAM. Relaxation technique- they help with the reduction of pain and anxiety. Massage and relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic respiration, listening to soothing music, and an increased sense of well-being and cold compresses are the most preferred methods of decreasing pain.

Pranayama This breathing technique is characterized by regulated breathing while the mind directs the flow of breath. It promotes balance through mastery over the mind.

Meditation- It is defined by Patanjali as an effortless flow of a single thought in the mind without any distraction. This has shown to provide physiological benefits. The mindful nature of hatha yoga provides the benefits of relaxation and reduces the activity of the stress system that may help decrease pain sensitivity and induce analgesic efforts.

Lectures and counseling- Yogic concepts of health and diseases that help understand the need for a lifestyle change, weight management and prevention of early aging by yogic self-management of psychological stress would make a positive impact on lowering limp disability rates.

Iyengar- This form of yoga mechanism focuses on muscle strength, flexibility, and relaxation with special emphasis on the alignment of body structures. The main advantage of Iyengar is that it is easy and it can be practiced by all because it has props that assist participants to achieve recommended body positioning and it gives a proper sequence of postures which is important for successful yoga intervention.

The external knee adduction moment (KAM) - This technique deals with load distribution on the knee. Exercise regimes that utilize this mechanism, help in reducing knee pain and disease progression by minimizing KAM exposure. Examples of recommended techniques that reduce the KAM exposure include walking barefoot, the body center of mass alignment over the foot bearing the body weight during single leg stances, externally rotating the foot and reducing gait speed.

Researchers have concluded that yoga and physical therapy yield more positive effects than physical therapy alone. Yoga is one of the least harming sports with proven positive effects in the treatment of chronical conditions. Yoga results in improved strength and flexibility which can be beneficial in dealing with some musculoskeletal ailments, such as knee pain.
 

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