Online Yoga for AS Can Help with Joint Mobility, Pain & Stress Tolerance | AS study finds online yoga helps relieve pain and improve mental health
Participating in online yoga classes, or tele-yoga, can help people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) relieve pain, overcome certain functional limitations and improve their mental health, suggests an Indian study.
Symptoms of AS can make it difficult to perform daily activities
AS is a type of arthritis that affects the joints of the spine, causing inflammation and swelling. Because it usually occurs around the joints of the spine, the main AS symptoms include pain, stiffness and loss of ability to move the spine through its full range of motion.
This can make it difficult for people with AS to carry on with daily activities, which is one reason why some may experience a decline in their mental health and quality of life.
Staying active, exercising and adopting good posture can help living with AS less difficult while maintaining joint health.
“Yoga is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome,” the researchers wrote. “In addition to its beneficial effects on physiological and metabolic actions, yoga also influences positive actions for mental health. It helps reduce stress and its effects and improves anxiety and depression associated with various chronic diseases.
However, the effectiveness of a yoga practice for people with AS is unclear.
To find out more, a team of researchers from across India designed a three-month yoga program for people with AS that included yoga poses, breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation techniques.
As the study took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, all classes were offered online, twice a week for one hour per class.
Yoga is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome
Lower disease activity reported in 57 adults who completed a yoga program
The researchers invited 130 adults who had been diagnosed with AS for at least three years to participate in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group engaged in the three-month yoga program at home in addition to their usual care; the other group (control) received only its standard care.
Some participants dropped out of the study because they did not have time to follow the program or lacked motivation (four patients in the yoga group), were not reachable by phone or did not want to continue the program. study (eight patients in the control group), or were diagnosed with COVID-19 (one patient in the yoga group and five in the control group).
A total of 109 adults (57 in the yoga group and 52 in the control group) completed the study. Most (83.5%) were men and their average age was similar in the two groups (34.4 vs 35.1 years).
At the start of the study and after three months, researchers used the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index to assess disease activity, including pain. While mean scores did not change in the control group, they dropped significantly in the yoga group, from 6.04 to 4.91 points, indicating less active disease.
Practicing tele-yoga also helped patients feel less anxious and depressed.
The yoga group also had significantly lower scores on Bath’s ankylosing spondylitis functional index (4.07 versus 4.93 points for the control group). The index measures the functional ability of people with AS to perform activities of daily living, and higher scores indicate more severe impairment.
Similar observations were made when examining the results of the ankylosing spondylitis quality of life questionnaire.
Researchers have found a link between disease outcomes and mental health. This means that the better the patients felt in terms of disease activity, functional ability and quality of life, the less anxious and depressed they were.
Exactly how yoga works to improve overall health remains unclear, but “yoga practice may have improved joint mobility and spinal flexibility”, while increasing pain tolerance and reducing stress, noted the researchers.
All participants were comfortable with a virtual yoga intervention, suggesting yoga (or tele-yoga) practice as a possible intervention for people with AS, the team wrote.