Chair Yoga Improves Osteoarthritis Symptoms in Older Adults

Osteoarthritis patients can work their way towards reduced pain interference and fatigue, and best of all, they can do it while sitting comfortably in a chair! A recent study found that older adults with osteoarthritis in the lower extremities can experience significant improvement in their arthritis symptoms through chair yoga.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University randomly assigned 131 older adults with osteoarthritis in at least one lower extremity joint to participate in yoga classes or health education classes. Participants attended 45-minute classes twice a week for a period of eight weeks. Researchers measured pain, pain interference, balance, gait speed, fatigue and functional ability of participants before, during and after classes.

Subjects who participated in chair yoga – a gentle form of yoga that is practiced while sitting in a chair or using a chair for support – saw greater improvements in pain and pain interference during the 8-week program and three months post-intervention than participants in the health education group. Researchers also noted that the chair yoga group had a significantly greater decrease in WOMAC pain and fatigue and experienced improved gait speed.

Study co-author Ruth McCaffrey, emeritus professor in FAU’s College of Nursing, explained that these findings could lead to improved non-pharmacologic treatments for management of osteoarthritis.

“Currently, the only treatment for osteoarthritis, which has no cure, includes lifestyle changes and pharmacologic treatments that are not without adverse events,” she said. “The long-term goal of this research is to address the non-pharmacologic management of lower extremity osteoarthritis pain and physical function in older adults, and our study provides evidence that chair yoga may be an effective approach for achieving this goal,” (Source: Newsmax).