Secure online access to Cleveland Clinic's specialists for over 1,200 medical diagnoses, nutritional consultation and pre-adoption advice

Cleveland Clinic News  The latest from our experts

How Yoga Can Help You Combat the Effects of Osteoarthritis


YogaIf your joints are stiff and achy, there are yoga solutions to get you moving more comfortably. First, know this: Stiff or achy joints can be a sign of osteoarthritis, a chronic, progressive disease that will affect many of us as we age.

The good news: Practicing yoga can keep your joints more flexible and can reduce your pain.

How does arthritis happen?
It’s important to understand what arthritis is and how it happens. The term “arthritis” is used to describe more than 100 different diseases and conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system.

The most prevalent form is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of cartilage, the cushioning material between the bones. When the cartilage deteriorates, the bones rub together, causing pain. This disease has been around a very long time, and has even been found in prehistoric skeletons.

The pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis can make you feel like the last thing you want to do is move around. And yet movement is critical to keeping the joints flexible and reducing your pain.

Exercise has long been considered key to maintaining and improving joint function. It also helps strengthen the muscles around the joints, so that sore and damaged joints are protected and aren’t overtaxed.

However, if you have osteoarthritis, your exercise programs must be gentle and low-impact to keep painful joints from being jarred or injured.

The perfect solution? Yoga!