When discussing the potential forms of treatment for knee pain, most people will only consider medical treatments such as pills, topical creams, corticosteroid injections and even surgery. Others might consider herbal remedies that can be used from home, while some consider physiotherapy.
But how about yoga?
More often than not, people do not consider yoga – even when they know its benefits to the body – a potential form of treatment for knee pain. In this article, we delve into the specifics regarding yoga and its effect on knee pain, including how it works, when it works and who may use it.
Knee pain is caused by injuries and conditions that affect the tissues that make up the knee joint. Injuries such as falling and twisting can lead to tearing of ligaments and tendons, which results in swelling in the knee joint. The other major cause of knee pain is diseases that affect any of the tissues in the joint such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis etc. Most of these conditions damage the issues within the joint, resulting in inflammation and knee pain.
The Connection Between Yoga And Knee Pain
The knee is connected to the thigh and the leg by muscles, ligaments, and tendons, whose health is paramount for the proper functioning of the knee. The most prominent muscles include the quads, the hamstrings, and the glutes, all of which affect movement in one way or another.
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How Yoga Relives Knee Pain
Yoga has a tremendous effect on knee pain and its symptoms, so much that it is one of the most recommended ways to treat knee pain without medication. Because of its rooting in posture and balance, yoga has a direct effect on muscles and other body structures, most of which is positive when done right.
It improves blood circulation within tissues
Gentle straining of muscles and tissues during yoga quickens blood flow into tissues, improving blood circulation and facilitation of tissues with nourishment and more oxygen.
It realigns dislocated knee caps
Yoga is highly recommended for knee pain resulting from dislocated knee caps due to its poses that realign the knee cap back into its groove within the femur.
It strengthens tissues and muscles over time
Yoga requires the performer to use their body muscles to the fullest without trying so hard. The gentle straining and relaxation exercises strengthen the muscles over time, healing their damages too.
The Best Poses For Knee Pain
Yoga is made of a number of poses, but not all of them are helpful in treating knee pain. The best poses exert a minimal force on the knee joint while strengthening the muscles surrounding it, facilitating the curbing of inflammation and reducing pain.
The Sitting Pose
How to: Stand straight with your feet placed together firmly on the ground and your legs inching together. Move down into a sitting pose with your chest still lifted without pointing out your knees. Raise your arms along with the pose.
The sitting/chair pose transfers your body’s weight from the knees to your hips, allowing them relief while strengthening the calves, thigh muscles and hips at once.
The Lotus Pose (Makrasana)
Sit down on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Rather than bending them and placing each foot on the opposite leg’s thigh like it’s usually done, cross leg them instead. Finish by placing your hands on your thighs and calming up.
The lotus pose is popular for its ability to calm the mind, but it’s also beneficial for the ankle, thigh and leg muscles that connect to the knee.
The Peaceful Warrior Pose
Put your right foot forward firmly and point the toes straight in front. Position your left leg such that the toes are looking 90° to the left. Stretch your palms out and turn the palms upward. Start bending your left knee in front and then place the back of the left hand on the left leg. Reach out your right arm in an arch position overhead until you look at the ceiling.
The peaceful warrior pose engages the major muscles in the thigh-knee-shin area including the quads, the hamstrings, and the glutes, enabling them to heal gradually and strengthen. This makes it effective for treating knee pain.
The Tree Pose
This pose is all about balancing your ankles, thighs, legs, and knees to enable you to stand on one leg with your eyes closed. The idea is to improve bodily alignment, which in turn facilitates bodily balancing.
Stand straight on your mat. Lift your left leg and place it on your right thigh. Stretch your arms out and balance in that position for a few minutes.
The Supported Warrior Pose
Stand straight on your mat and raise your arms out to shoulder height. Position your right foot to face straight in front while your left leg stands at 90° to the right. Flex your left knee a little and then switch the movement to your right knee.
The Bridge Pose
Lie straight on your mat while looking up. Lift your thighs up by placing your feet firmly on the ground and apart at shoulder width without getting up from the mat. Lay your arms on your side and lift your body up using the heels such that the whole body rests on the shoulders.
Working the bridge pose on a constant basis strengthens the muscles that make up the back of the thigh including the hamstrings and glutes, which helps reduce or prevent knee pain.
The Triangle Pose
Stand firmly on your mat. Position your right leg to face directly in front while the left stands at 90° opposite. Ensure that you feel properly balanced. Stretch your right arm in the air while touching the ground with your left. Stay in the position for a few seconds and then switch the positions of the arms.
The Triangle pose stretches all the thigh and knee muscles gently, strengthening them, enabling better circulation and relieving knee pain.
The High Lunge Pose
Stand firmly at the front of your mat with your legs parted. Push the left leg backward until the right leg is positioned at 90° at the knee. Look straight in front and raise your arms up in the air.
The high lunge pose exercises the glutes, calves and hamstrings within the thigh, strengthening them and improving your stability and balance in the process. The result is less pain from the knee.
Twisted/Reverse Triangle Pose
Stand firmly on your feet and spread your legs wider than the hip width. Rather than place the right foot forward and positioning the left at 90° like it’s usually done, position both feet to face in the same direction. Try to touch the ground beside your right foot with your left arm while raising your right hand up into the sky.
Just like the triangle pose, the reverse triangle poses exercises all the thigh muscles at once, strengthening them and healing damaged ones.
Yoga, in addition to other forms of treatment, can also be used to minimize the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, seronegative arthritis, and many other diseases.
- Yoga stretches and tears muscles.
This is not true. Unless done wrong, yoga doesn’t tear or wear out muscles – it strengthens them. With the gradual stretching and relaxing of tissues that come with yoga when it’s done right, muscles get to strengthen and heal if damaged prior.
- Yoga is for fit people
Yoga can be done by ‘unfit’ people. Even overweight people can start doing yoga; it doesn’t have weight limitations.
Why You Should Consider Using Yoga To Treat Knee Pain
- It can be done from home
In other words, there is no need for a pricey gym membership for you to treat your knee pain. All you need is an instructor or a home video to follow, and you’ll be good to go.
- It has been tested, tried and proven to work for many people
Yoga is guaranteed to heal your knee pain, as it has for thousands of people that have used it. Research has been done on the healing effect of yoga for different forms of arthritis, and results have been largely successful.
- It is highly recommended
Doctors all over the world prescribe the simple exercises fronted by yoga as being helpful for treating knee pain. That’s enough reason to try it out.
- It also helps you treat many other conditions
While treating the pain in your knee using yoga, it indirectly helps you with many other ailments. Yoga is effective for weight loss, arthritis treatment, stress relief and many other painful conditions.
The benefits of yoga for the body cannot be listed to completion. This hundred-year-old form of medication has healed thousands of people in India and across the world from knee pain without extra cost. The good news is that you can also start today.
Treat your ‘popping knee’ by trying out yoga today!