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4 Effective Exercises for Managing Ankylosing Spondylitis

When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), an inflammatory form of arthritis that can result in spinal fusion, exercise may seem uncomfortable—even dangerous. But if you have AS, being inactive may be even riskier.

What is meant by ankylosing spondylitis?

A kind of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis (AS) mainly affects the spine and the major joints in the lower body, like the hips and knees. It produces inflammation in the spine, which can result in lower back and hip discomfort and stiffness. In the morning or after long periods of inactivity, the discomfort may be particularly acute. Movement may become challenging as the inflammation worsens and the spine’s bones expand and fuse together.

At times in severe cases, the spine may tend to fuse and makes mobility difficult. If you’re diagnosed with a fused spine, reach out for ankylosing spondylitis surgery from the best ankylosing spondylitis specialists to ensure a safe treatment.

How can ankylosing spondylitis exercises help?

The best thing you can do to control your AS, other than visiting your ankylosing spondylitis specialist frequently and adhering to your medication plan, is probably to keep active. “Physical therapy and ankylosing spondylitis exercises can help relieve pain, improve mobility, maintain flexibility, strength and posture,” In actuality, the majority of AS sufferers report that discomfort subsides following physical activity.

When you first get up is the ideal time to workout. With AS, morning stiffness is extremely typical. Exercise your range of motion and flexibility first, then stay active and move throughout the day. Reach out to the best hospital for rheumatology to get the best care and guidance.

Understanding the importance of ankylosing spondylitis exercises:

Before we dive into the ankylosing spondylitis exercises, it’s essential to grasp why physical activity is crucial for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis:

Pain Management:

AS often leads to pain and stiffness in the spine and joints. Ankylosing spondylitis exercises helps alleviate these symptoms by promoting blood flow and releasing endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers.

Improved Flexibility:

AS can result in reduced spinal flexibility. The right ankylosing spondylitis exercises can enhance range of motion and maintain spinal mobility.

Enhanced Posture:

AS may lead to poor posture due to spine and hip joint involvement. Ankylosing spondylitis exercises targeting posture can help improve alignment.

Preventing Complications:

Regular ankylosing spondylitis exercise can help prevent complications such as kyphosis, a forward curvature of the spine.

What are the four ankylosing spondylitis exercises that can help?

1.    Stretching and Range of Motion ankylosing spondylitis exercises:

Neck Rotation: Gently turn your head to the left as far as is comfortable, then to the right. Repeat this movement 10 times on each side to improve neck mobility.

Spinal Flexion and Extension: Sit or stand with your back straight. Slowly round your spine forward, then arch it backward. Perform this movement 10 times to maintain spinal flexibility.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze: Place both arms at your sides and sit or stand. Hold the joint squeezing motion for five seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times to improve posture.

2.    Aerobic ankylosing spondylitis exercises:

Aerobic ankylosing spondylitis exercises, such as walking, swimming, or cycling, can help maintain cardiovascular health and overall fitness for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis. These activities also promote weight management, which is crucial for reducing stress on the spine and joints.

Walking: Start with short walks and gradually increase your duration. Walking on even terrain can be gentle on your joints.

Swimming: Swimming and water aerobics are excellent options because they provide resistance without putting excessive strain on the joints.

Cycling: Riding a stationary or regular bicycle can help improve cardiovascular fitness while being easy on the joints.

3.    Strengthening ankylosing spondylitis exercises:

Strengthening ankylosing spondylitis exercises can help stabilize the spine and improve muscle strength around the affected areas. Here are some ankylosing spondylitis exercise options:

Pelvic Tilts: With your knees bent, lie on your back. Pushing your lower back into the floor while tightening your abdominal muscles. Hold for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Leg Raises: Lie on your stomach and lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight. After holding for 5 seconds, let it go. Repeat with the other leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Bridges: Lie on your back, legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Create a straight line from the shoulders to the knees by lifting your hips off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds and lower. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

4.    Breathing exercises:

Deep breathing exercises can be particularly beneficial for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis, as they help reduce stress and improve lung function.

Diaphragmatic Breathing: Sit or lie down comfortably. Put one hand on the upper body and one on your stomach. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise while keeping your chest still. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this exercise for 5-10 minutes.

Pursed-Lip Breathing: Inhale for two counts via your nose, then exhale for four counts through pursed lips. This exercise can help improve lung function and reduce breathlessness.

What are the tips to follow while performing ankylosing spondylitis exercises?

While exercise is beneficial for managing ankylosing spondylitis, it’s essential to follow these safety guidelines:

Consult Your ankylosing spondylitis specialist: Before starting any new exercise program or indulging in  ankylosing spondylitis self care routine, consult your ankylosing spondylitis specialist or a physical therapist. They can help you create a personalized ankylosing spondylitis exercise plan.

Warm Up: Always warm up before exercise to prepare your muscles and joints. Gentle stretching and range-of-motion exercises are excellent warm-up activities.

Start Slowly: Begin with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase intensity and duration as your fitness level improves.

Listen to Your Body: Take note of your body’s cues. If an exercise makes you feel pain or discomfort, stop right away.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, especially if you’re engaging in aerobic activities.

Use Proper Form: Maintain proper form and technique during exercises to prevent injury.

Rest and Recovery: Allow your body time to rest and recover between exercise sessions. Adequate rest is essential for healing and muscle growth.

Important Takeaway:

Before performing any ankylosing spondylitis exercises it is important to get advice from your ankylosing spondylitis specialists and to also figure out which exercises may work the best for you.

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