5 Exercises to Improve Flexibility in Ankylosing Spondylitis

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disease that mostly affects young men (20–40 years old). It makes the joints in the spine and the hip swell up. It takes time for the spine to fuse, or join together, into one long piece that can’t move.

Ankylosing spondylitis makes joints hurt a lot, make it hard to move, and make them stiff. It may also be linked to other arthritic diseases that affect the joints in the legs, knees, and hands. These are called peripheral joints.

spine inflammation is a part of ankylosing spondylitis.that can make the spine’s small bones join together over time. When these bones join, the spine loses some of its pliability, which can make a person look slouched.

People who have ankylosing spondylitis can also have problems with their joints. It might be hard for someone to take deep breaths because of this. People with this condition start to show symptoms in their early 20s, and guys are more likely than women to have it.

Exercises for Ankylosing spondylitis:

• Low-impact Aerobic Exercises:

Engaging in low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation. These activities also help maintain joint flexibility and reduce stiffness in the spine.

• Strength Training:

Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can help build muscle mass and improve overall strength. Focus on exercises that target the core muscles, as a strong core can help support the spine and improve posture.

• Stretching Exercises:

Stretching exercises are crucial for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis as they help improve flexibility and range of motion. Include stretches that target the back, hips, and shoulders to help relieve tension and reduce pain.

• Yoga and Pilates:

Both yoga and Pilates are excellent forms of exercise for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis. These practices focus on controlled movements, breathing techniques, and gentle stretches that can help improve posture, reduce pain, and increase flexibility.

• Swimming:

Swimming is a fantastic low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints and can help improve overall fitness. The buoyancy of the water reduces the stress on the spine, making it an ideal exercise for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis.

• Warm Up and Cool Down:

Always warm up before starting your exercise routine and cool down afterwards to prevent injury and reduce muscle soreness.

5 spondylitis exercise:

1. Press Up to Stretch Your Spine

Pressing up to stretch your spine is not only a great way to relieve tension but can also be beneficial for individuals with ankylosing spondylitis.
Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your hands placed palm down on the ground next to your shoulders.

Keeping your pelvis on the ground, slowly press up through your hands, lifting your chest off the ground.

Make sure to engage your core and keep your neck in a neutral position.Hold the press-up position for a few breaths, feeling the stretch in your spine and chest. Slowly lower back down to the starting position, feeling the release in your back muscles.

This condition causes inflammation and stiffness in the spine, making it crucial to engage in gentle stretching exercises like press-ups to improve flexibility and reduce discomfort.

2. Wall Sit for a better posture

Wall sits involve leaning against a wall while bending your knees at a 90-degree angle, which helps engage the muscles in your lower back and core.

This exercise is especially beneficial for individuals with conditions like Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis that mainly affects the spine.

Find a clear wall space where you can comfortably lean your back against without any obstacles.Stand with your back against the wall and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, as if you are sitting in an invisible chair.

Hold this position for as long as you can, aiming for at least 30 seconds to start and gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and endurance.

Make sure to keep your back flat against the wall, with your core engaged and your weight evenly distributed between your heels and the balls of your feet.

By regularly practicing wall sits, you can enhance your posture, reduce back pain, and increase your overall body strength.

3. Do Chin Tucks to Stretch your neck

Chin tucks are a fantastic way to stretch your neck and help relieve tension. Particularly for those with Ankylosing Spondylitis, these gentle exercises can improve flexibility and reduce discomfort in the neck area.

Start by sitting or standing up straight with your shoulders relaxed. Gently tuck your chin towards your chest, as if you are creating a double chin.

Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in the back of your neck. Slowly release and return to the starting position.Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions, taking care not to strain or overextend your neck.

4. Stretch Your Hips to Ease Low Back Pain

Stretching your hips is a fantastic way to alleviate low back pain, especially for those dealing with conditions like Ankylosing Spondylitis. This condition causes inflammation in the spine, leading to stiffness and discomfort in the lower back.

• Pigeon Pose

Start in a downward dog position.
Bring your right knee forward towards your right hand.
Extend your left leg back behind you.
Lower your hips towards the mat and hold for 30 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat.

• Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your right knee with your left foot in front, forming a 90-degree angle.
Engage your core and gently press your hips forward.
Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

• Figure Four Stretch

Lie on your back with both knees bent.
Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
Reach through your legs and pull towards your chest.
Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

By incorporating these hip stretches into your daily routine, you can strengthen the supporting muscles around your lower back and experience long-term relief from discomfort.

5. Take Deep Breaths

Taking deep breaths can be such a simple yet effective way to manage the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. By practicing deep breathing exercises regularly, you can improve your lung capacity, decrease stress levels, and promote relaxation throughout your body.

This mindful technique not only benefits your physical health but also aids in mental clarity and emotional well-being. So, whenever you feel overwhelmed by the challenges of Ankylosing Spondylitis, remember to take a moment, close your eyes, and take deep breaths to help center yourself and find some relief.

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