Yoga As Medicine

Yoga For Hip Bursitis

When you have daily pain in your hip from arthritis (the loss of protective cushioning in the joint) or bursitis (inflammation of the joint lining), it can make doing everything from walking to climbing stairs to bending over a chore, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Starting your day with movement gets your muscles working, activated, and engaged and will help support you the rest of the day. Our bodies need a balance between strength and flexibility to be healthy for life. Gently rotating the femur bone (making circles with your knee/leg) is something you can do every day to maintain good hip help.

Although some age-related changes are inevitable, it was once thought that changes to muscles, bones and joints were unavoidable too. However, researchers now suggest that many factors associated with ageing are due to inactivity, and that performing physical activity can help to reduce or reverse the risk of disability and chronic disease. Strong muscles support our the alignment of our bones. When our muscles are weak, our bones don’t have adequate support they need, and our joints absorb more impact than they should. A joint is where two bones meet but they do not directly touch each other. They are cushioned by cartilage that lines your joints (articular cartilage), synovial membranes around the joint and a lubricating fluid inside your joints (synovial fluid). As you age, joint movement becomes stiffer and less flexible because the amount of lubricating fluid inside your joints decreases and the cartilage becomes thinner. Ligaments also tend to shorten and lose some flexibility, making joints feel stiff.

Many of these age-related changes to joints are caused by lack of exercise. Movement of the joint, and the associated ‘stress’ of movement, helps keep the fluid moving. Being inactive causes the cartilage to shrink and stiffen, reducing joint mobility. Here how to use yoga as medicine to keep your hips strong and lessen hip pain.

Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place a yoga block or therapeutic exercise ball between your thighs, and squeeze the block firmly with your inner thighs. Press down through your feet and raise your buttocks off the floor while you contract your abdominal muscles. Keep your knees aligned with your ankles and aim for a straight line from knees to shoulders, being sure not to arch your back; hold this position for three to five seconds and then slowly lower your buttocks back to the floor. Start with one set of 10 and build up to two or three sets.

Inner Thigh/Outer Thigh Strengthening 
Set up for bridge pose as described above. This time add a yoga strap tightly around your knees and supporting the block between the legs so it can’t slip out. With your buttocks on the mat, squeeze the block with your knees to engage the inner thigh muscles. Hold for three to five seconds, then press the outer thighs into the strap like your legs are trying to loosen the strap to engage the outer thigh muscles. Hold for three to five seconds. Alternate squeezing the block and pressing outward into the strap. Start with one set of 10 and build up to two or three sets.

Links to some helpful therapeutic Yoga sequences the help the hip:

Additional information:

Icing a joint inflamed because of arthritis or bursitis can lower inflammation and help with hip pain. Using heat an arthritic hip joint with a hot shower or bath can soothe your joints. Don’t use heat, however, if your hip pain is caused by bursitis, because it can make this type of inflammation worse. Doing water aerobics and aqua yoga are wonderful ways to care for your hip joints. Exercising in water allows you to strengthen your muscles without putting as much stress and pressure on your joints. A

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