The last thing you’d like do when stiff and pain-prone is move. Exercise is what you need to get better and feel better when you suffer from ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) which is an inflammatory arthritis that can affect the spine as well as joints.

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A regular exercise routine is an essential element in AS treatment, according to the sports medicine specialist and rheumatologist Ahmed Elghawy, DO. It helps prevent lower back stiffness and pain. It also assists in maintaining the range of motion which means that AS does not limit your ability to perform everyday tasks.

Dr. Elghawy reveals the most effective exercises to treat ankylosing Spondylitis as well as what you should do if you’re experiencing symptoms of AS flare.

How can exercise benefit people who suffer from ankylosing spondylitis?

Exercise is the foundation of AS treatment and comes with a variety of advantages. Make sure to incorporate a variety of exercises to help improve your

  • The strength of your core. The muscles in your the torso (or core region) assist in keeping your spine in a straight line. Strong core muscles can ease lower back discomfort according to Dr. Elghawy. “The rib cage is what stabilizes the upper back however the lower back isn’t supported by that rib cage. It’s also where many are most in pain.” Concentrate on strengthening your abdominal muscles to give greater stability to the lower back.
  • Flexibility of the spine. If AS progresses joints of your lower back might join or fuse. If this happens, it restricts your movements. Exercises that stretch your muscles help keep your spine’s flexibility , and maintain a good posture.
  • Balance. Some people with AS use steroid medication for a long time. This increases the chance of developing osteoporosis and weakening the bones, which could cause fractures. Balance training can help to avoid falls that break bones.
  • Health of the heart. Autoimmune conditions like AS cause ongoing inflammation. The inflammation increases the likelihood for developing heart diseases. To combat this, add cardiovascular exercise in your fitness routine. It helps improve lung and heart function. Plus? It will ease the pain and boost your mood.

What exercises are suitable for ankylosing spondylitis?

The most effective exercise for AS is one that you love. Since there are many possibilities there are plenty of options, you don’t have to choose something that makes you bored.

For example, walking is easy and cheap and you can practice it in many different situations. You can exercise by yourself, in the group setting or even with a friend or a neighbor or with anyone else who is most enjoyable for you.

“Find an exercise routine that you enjoy so it will be more easy to stick to the program,” advises Dr. Elghawy. “Try several different exercises to find out what you enjoy the most.”

Here are a few options which are particularly useful for AS:

Exercises for physiotherapy

The majority of healthcare professionals recommend physical therapy for ankylosing Spondylitis relief. A physical therapist is in charge as you perform specific exercises.

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Your chest wall, in addition to your spine. AS can cause stiffness in the ribs, making it difficult to breathe deeply. Physical therapy is a great way to learn stretching exercises that keep spinal flexibility as well as chest expansion, and the health of your lung, according to the doctor. Elghawy.


Pilates is a type of exercise that concentrates on building strength and muscle by working in a controlled and slow method.

“It incorporates many different types of exercises into one program,” notes Dr. Elghawy. “It’s an excellent combination of stretching in conjunction with core exercises and exercises for your postural. Also, Pilates exercises are great for AS since it’s low-impact which means it’s suitable for joints that are safe.”

Other activities that build muscles with minimal impact include yoga, Tai Chi and weight-training.

Exercises for stretching

Be sure to include stretching exercises that can help AS the body, advises Dr. Elghawy. For instance, you could do exercises that you learned in physical therapy or practice slow-flow yoga, in which you do poses for longer. Another alternative? Traditional stretching exercises that focus on the neck as well as your back.

Neck exercises

The aim of exercise exercises to strengthen your neck to treat AS is to improve your range of motion Dr. Elghawy suggests. Try these movements to stretch your neck:

  • Place your chin in a tuck and place it on your chest.
  • Bring your ear to your shoulder.
  • Slowly turn your head slowly.

Back exercises

Muscles that are strong help you keep good standing, which is crucial when you suffer from AS. Core and back exercises for AS comprise:

  • Wall is sat. Sit against the wall and then lower to an upright in a sitting.
  • Plans. Get into a position that is similar to the way you begin a push-up. Hold the position.
  • Bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet lying flat on the floor. Beginning with your pelvis, slowly raise your lower back towards the sky and hold.


You can perform a variety of regular exercises within the waters. The benefit of aqua hydrotherapy for ankylosing Spondylitis is that it’s gentle on joints.

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“It’s ideal for those who do not have the same force,” says Dr. Elghawy. “Once the water exercises are easy and you can move on to land-based exercises.”

Exercise can make AS worse?

Regular exercise is essential to decrease AS symptoms and to maintain mobility. However, the type of exercise you are able to handle is contingent on your level of AS and your overall health.

“You may experience some discomfort when you exercise,” says Dr. Elghawy. “But it’s a signal to stop, and it could be an indication that you are experiencing an AS flare in the event that the disease is in an active phase and symptoms get worse. Do not engage in any activity until you consult your doctor. Discuss the pain you’re experiencing. Together, you’ll decide if you are able to safely complete the exercise.”

What are the most dangerous movements to avoid in the case of AS?

If you suffer from AS you should avoid vigorous high-intensity, fast-moving exercises such as martial arts and contact sports. Also, think about how AS has affected your balance and mobility prior to taking on a new activity that’s challenging.

Exercise is an excellent complement to any treatment with a medical AS treatment. It’s a safe way to alleviate AS symptoms such as fatigue, stiffness, and pain. It keeps your body robust and flexible. It could even reduce inflammation, which can make illness more severe.

The bottom line is: You cannot afford to be couch potato when are suffering from AS. When you start moving and start to feel the benefits, you’ll never ever want to stop.