Pilates to Ease the Symptoms of Arthritis

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Arthritis is a complex condition affecting millions worldwide. The main symptoms include joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. One of the best treatments to relieve arthritis is Pilates. Here are the key findings from an article which highlights how Pilates can help those suffering from this debilitating disease…

‘Lengthening and stretching the body in a balanced manner assists in relieving the soreness caused by osteoarthritis.  Pilates enhances muscle control, spine stabilization, posture, body awareness, co-ordination and balance. It facilitates in relaxing the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back.’

‘Pilates also improves lung capacity and blood circulation in the body; a better blood supply means more oxygen and nutrients are supplied to the tendons and muscles thus relieving the pain.’

‘People doing Pilates become more aware of the position of their body and its alignment, which is beneficial in relieving stress on major joints. Pilates is also extremely useful in increasing the flexibility and strength of the joints by encouraging controlled movements. Proper motion stimulates the joint surfaces to produce synovial fluids, which lubricates the moving parts of the body. Pilates emphasizes the proper alignment of the body thus avoiding excessive weight or wear and tear on the joints, which results in less damage and ultimately less pain for patients.’

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‘Evidence in literature points towards the efficacy of Pilates for patients suffering from different arthritic conditions. One study looked into the effects of Pilates exercises on 50 children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group followed a Pilates-based exercise regime for 6 months, while the members of other group were enrolled in conventional exercise program. At the end of this study, all the participants showed improvement from the symptoms of the disease. However patients following the Pilates programme showed better results both physically and psychologically.’

‘A 2009 study was designed to consider the effects of Pilates on 50 female patients with chronic fibromyalgia. The participants were divided into two random groups, one receiving a Pilates treatment programme under the guidance of a certified trainer for 12 weeks, while the other control group performed stretching and relaxation exercises at home. When comparing the results from the two groups, it was found that the group receiving the Pilates exercise treatment showed significant improvement in pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia, while the other group showed no significant improvement.

‘A similarly designed clinical trial was performed on 55 patients (30 men and 25 women) with ankylosing spondylitis. Again, the participants were divided into two groups. One group received the Pilates exercise therapy to relieve the pain and stiffness, while the other received a standard treatment regimen. At the end of 12 weeks all the participants were tested for disease indicators. On comparison of the results it was once again established that Pilates is the best means to restore movement and reduce pain among patients with Ankylosing spondylitis.’

To read the article in full click here.

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