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A secret exercise to relieve joint pain

In this week's health and wellness column, author Cheryl Gordon offers tips on joint pain relief
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“June” (name has been changed to protect her privacy) has always been active. She skied, skated, cycled and played racquet sports until her 70th birthday. A right knee injury in her 30’s occasionally flared up but it was only since that birthday that walking became troublesome. Eventually, there was talk of a hip replacement due to the chronic pain that kept her up nights.

By the time June came to yoga therapy, she had tried most other pain remedies and was understandably frustrated. Most people who come into therapy have tried many things and are fed up.

The first order of business, after getting to know each other, was to give June something hopeful on which to focus. She pictured herself chair-bound and her life closing in on her. The exercises that she had received from her chiropractor and/or physiotherapist weren’t holding her attention - so they weren’t getting done. June needed something easy on the joints but interesting enough to motivate her to practice every day. She needed a routine that would help her deal with all the side effects of that arthritic hip.

Chronic joint pain is about more than a knee or hip. As you can imagine in June’s case, her worries and frustrations about her narrowing activity opportunities were causing as much pain as the actual arthritis. Having pain causes us to adjust our socializing so we can become isolated and at risk for depression. Having pain and getting yet another round of tests makes us feel like we are at the mercy of others, holding no power ourselves to heal. Having pain can create a feeling of hopelessness that causes other areas of self-care to fall away. It’s very difficult to focus on a healthy diet if it hurts too much to stand to cook or grocery shop, for example.

Patient after patient, time and time again, I find that the Joint Freeing Series is just the ticket. This simple series of uni-joint movements done in a specific order helps in so many ways.

  1. The movements distribute lubrication in the joint, helping to reduce inflammatory compounds and to bring healing fluids to the tissues.

  2. The movements stretch tight places and strengthen weaker places gently.

  3. The movements remind the brain how to fire muscles in an efficient and safe way.

  4. The breath pattern is soothing to the nervous system and can alleviate our impression of pain.

  5. The practice is ordered in such a way as to engage the brain, like a meditation, which helps to wire new ways of thinking less focused on the pain.

The Joint Freeing Series of yoga movements was helpful for June and can be utilized by anyone who is breathing. I use it before my yoga poses and athletes can use it before their workouts. Tired office workers can refresh before dinner with this series and kids can use it to build coordination and learn healthy body awareness.

The videos available here show two different versions. The first is using a chair, which means June didn’t have to get up and down from the floor. If the floor is no problem for you, try the second version. Both sequences will bring energy to every cell of your body, helping you feel vibrant and mobile.

For more information on the Joint Freeing Series, and yoga therapy in general, please contact Cheryl at or call/text 289-687-1704.