Yoga for Knee Pain

Knee pain is alternately minimized or eliminated through Yoga poses. Emerging as a complementary therapeutic method for knee pain, Yoga aims to heal and restore knee’s function and movement.  Most of the Yoga experts focus on decreasing pain in the knee with Hatha Yoga intervention. This discipline of Yoga focuses on stretching the knee, initiating the range of motion and strengthening the knee muscle group.

Since Yoga postures require isometric contraction of knee muscle groups to stabilize the knee, these are helpful for improving muscular strength and relieve knee pain. Yoga also promotes greater hip mobility that may translate into improved walking endurance and a great range of motion in the knee.

By practicing certain Yoga poses, the practitioner is able to reduce pain level by targeting the associated muscles such as hip extensor and knee extensor. Since yoga has a neuroprotective effect, practicing Yoga on the daily basis results in boosting pain perception and threshold.

How does Yoga for knee pain work?

Yoga is beneficial to the sufferers of weak knees or pain in the knee(s). Yoga sessions are individualized for each patient, based on pain severity level. Certain Asanas put little to no strain on the knee if prescribed for patients with chronic, severe knee pain. These poses work on the muscles along the back of the thigh hence help to stabilize the knee. People with an old injury to the knee can resort its normal function by practicing Asanas that strengthen their glutes.

To propose an individualized plan, a yoga expert needs to check how well the knee bends, straightens and moves. The expert also needs to check for any weak muscle(s) in the front and back of the patient’s thigh and detect any balance issues.  Depending on the assessment of pain, Ice/heat packs may also be included in an individual’s Yoga therapy program to eliminate the knee pain.

Commonly prescribed Yoga poses for knee pain

One may experience knee pain as a consequence of mechanical problems (Iliotibial Band Syndrome, Dislocated Kneecap, Hip of Foot Pain), an injury (Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury, Fractures, Torn Meniscus, Knee Bursitis and Patellar Tendinitis), or Arthritis.

Certain Yoga poses help stabilize the knee and strengthen the muscles such as the Vastus Medialis that support and hold the knee in correct alignment. These Yoga Aasanas also help stretch tight(s) muscles (mainly outer hips and hip flexors) that can pull on the knee.

Mountain Pose, Triangle Pose, Warrior Pose (with certain modifications), Hero’s Pose and Downward Facing Dog are among the most prescribed Yoga poses for knee pain.  Slow and controlled movement is suggested for the practitioners with chronic knee pain.