Top 10 Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercises

The spine, which supports your back, may be affected by arthritis, causing a condition called ankylosing spondylitis. The bones of the spine may fuse together, making it rigid. Its symptoms include stiffness and pain of the neck down to the lower back. These symptoms may be mild to severe, and may cause you to stoop. Early diagnosis and treatment may help relieve, reduce stiffness and deformity. Physical therapy and exercises may help treat symptoms and prevent development of stooped posture. These may also help maintain flexibility of affected joints.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercises

Here are some exercises you can try to relieve symptoms of arthritis of the spine:

1. Back Stretches

Start with your hands and knees touching the floor. With your head relaxed, allow it to droop and round up your back so that you feel it stretching. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds. Return to starting position with your back flat. Now press your stomach on the floor then lift your buttocks upward. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times.

2. Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch

Stand or sit on a chair with head looking straight ahead. Raise arms over your head toward the ceiling and breathe in. Do not tilt back your head. Now stretch your shoulders by reaching back with your arms. Breathe normally and hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Return to starting position. Do these ankylosing spondylitis exercises 2-4 times.

3. Chest Expansion

Stand or sit on a chair with your feet wide apart. Keep your head straight without tilting back. Take a deep breath and lift your arms to the sides then roll them arms back so that your palms turn out. You should feel your chest stretching. Breathe normally and hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Lower your arms and let your palms turn to the back while slowly breathing. Repeat 2-4 times.

4. Neck Turning

Stand or sit on a chair with your chin straight. Now turn your head to the right. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Turn your head to the left. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Do this 2-4 times on each side. Next, do head tilts by tipping your right ear toward the right shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Do the same on the left side. Repeat 2-4 times on each side.

5. Press-up Back Extension

Lie on your stomach while supporting the body with your forearms. Press elbows into the floor and raise your upper back. Relax the stomach muscles and arch your back without using the back muscles. Do not lift your hips off the floor. Hold this position for 15- 30 seconds and then relax. Do these ankylosing spondylitis exercises 2-4 times.

6. Plank

Kneel down on a mat and place your forearms on the floor. Push legs behind you and balance your body on your toes. Squeeze muscles on your stomach and butt to keep your body on a straight line. Don't lift or let your head hang down and keep your neck straight. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times. You can do this longer as you become stronger. If it is too hard to do on the floor, start initially on a standing position. Keep your feet flat on the floor then place your forearms on top of a table or counter while keeping your core tight.

7. Wall Sit

Stand against a wall with your feet apart, but away from the wall. Next, slide your back slowly down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor, as if you are sitting on a chair. Hold for 5-10 seconds or longer. Repeat 3-5 times. Dotheseankylosing spondylitis exercises 3-5 times a week.

8 Bird Dog Exercise

Start by going down on your hands and knees. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your right leg and hold it up straight behind you. Do not allow your hip to drop down. Hold for 6 seconds, then lower your leg. Do the same to the other leg. Repeat 8-12 times. Next, try to hold your leg up for 10-30 seconds. For added stretch, try to raise the opposite arm out in front of you while the leg is stretched out behind you.

9. Standing Leg Raises

Hold on to the back of a chair with your back straight. Slightly bend in your knees then slowly lift one leg to the side a few inches off the floor. Lower it back to starting position. Now lift the same leg behind you at 45 degrees while keeping good posture. Do not bend over at the waist. Do the same for the other leg. Repeat 10-15 times on each leg.

10. Swimming

Ankylosing spondylitis exercises are usually done better in a pool. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is good for ankylosing spondylitis. Research shows that water exercises are best for stiffness and pain. Ask your local gym for water exercise classes, or ask your doctor or physical therapist about exercises that you can do in a swimming pool.

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