Iyengar yoga therapy as an intervention for cramp management in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: three case reports.
J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Apr ;20(4):322-6. Epub 2013 Nov 28. PMID: 24286340
OBJECTIVES: Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease of motor neurons, experience cramps at all stages of the illness. There is, at present, no effective medication to control the cramps and no agreement on how to treat the symptom in ALS patients.
SUBJECTS: Three individuals who were diagnosed with ALS and reported suffering cramps in various parts of the body, which limited their activities or affected their sleep were invited to try Iyengar yoga.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Yoga therapy, composed of stretching, breathing, and relaxation exercises, was prescribed for each case, based on the subject's physical disability and the presence of other symptoms. Although two subjects experienced cramps during the first therapy session, all three subjects reported the complete cessation of cramping within 3 weeks to 8 weeks of therapy. One of the subjects developed cramps in the hand after discontinuing yoga therapy for 7 months. However, the symptom stopped within 2 weeks of resuming yoga therapy.
CONCLUSION: The alleviation of cramps in these three subjects indicates the possibility of yogic intervention for the management of cramps in individuals with ALS, but further research is necessary to understand the effectiveness of yoga therapy and to determine the exercises that are more prone to lead to cramping in some ALS individuals.