Effects of an integrated approach of hatha yoga therapy on functional disability, pain, and flexibility in osteoarthritis of the knee joint: a randomized controlled study

J Altern Complement Med. 2012 May;18(5):463-72. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0320. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Objectives: The study objectives were to evaluate the efficacy of integrating hatha yoga therapy with therapeutic exercises for osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee joints.

Design: This was a prospective, randomized, active controlled trial. Two hundred and fifty (250) participants who had OA knees and who were between 35 and 80 years (yoga 59.56±9.54) and (control 59.42±10.66) from the outpatient department of Ebnezar Orthopedic Center, Bengaluru, were randomly assigned to receive hatha yoga therapy or therapeutic exercises after transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment (20 minutes per day). Both of the groups practiced supervised interventions (40 minutes per day) for 3 months. One hundred and eighteen (118) (yoga) and 117 (control) subjects were available for the final analysis.

Results: There were significant differences within (Wilcoxon's, p<0.001) and between the groups (Mann-Whitney U, p<0.001) on all the variables, with better improvements in the yoga than the control groups. Walking pain in the yoga (37.3%, 64.9%) and control (24.9%, 42%), knee disability in the yoga (59.7%, 83%) and control (32.7%, 53.6%), range of knee flexion in yoga (12.7%, 26.5% right, 13.5%, 28% left) and control (6.9%, 13.3% right, 5.6%, 11.5% left), joint tenderness in yoga (52.3%, 86.1%) and control (28%, 57.1%), swelling in yoga (55.4%, 85.9%) and control (32.1%, 60%), crepitus in yoga (44.0%, 79.9%) and control (27.0%, 47.8%) and walking time in yoga (26.6%, 52.8%) and control (9.3%, 21.6%), all improved more in the yoga than the control groups on the 15th and 90th day, respectively.

Conclusions: An integrated approach of hatha yoga therapy is better than therapeutic exercises as an adjunct to transcutaneous electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatment in improving walking pain, range of knee flexion, walking time, tenderness, swelling, crepitus, and knee disability in patients with OA knees.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Edema / prevention & control
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint* / pathology
  • Knee Joint* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking*
  • Yoga*