Friday, May 3, 2013

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints. Over time, this disorder can cause the vertebrae to fuse together. And this fusing would eventually result in loss of flexibility in the spine, causing severe back pain. Plus, gradually the patient will assume a hunched posture. What’s even worse is that other joints of the body might also get affected due to this disease. The main symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis include: fatigue (extreme tiredness), back pain & stiffness, buttock pain, inflammation or swelling of the joints, and painful inflammation where tendons or ligaments attach to bone. Yoga is considered to be the most effective forms of treatment that can really help alleviate all these symptoms of AS.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief
Image Source:

The gentle movements of yoga can greatly improve the flexibility of joints and also correct the bad posture. Practicing certain yoga asanas on a regular basis can indeed help you get relief from stiffness and pain caused by AS. Moreover, yoga may even help ease emotional tension and stress associated with this deadly disease. Given below are some of the most effective yoga poses for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Practice these yoga postures to alleviate AS symptoms and feel better. Having said that make sure to consult a doctor or a yoga therapist before starting any of these yoga asanas.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief
Image Source:

Stand up straight with your feet together and your hands at your sides. Slowly inhale and simultaneously raise both your arms straight above your head. Now, as you exhale, bend down to touch your toes with your hands while keeping your knees straight. Don’t ever force yourself too much, instead slowly try to go as down as possible. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and then come back to the original position with inhalation. Repeat this procedure for ten to twelve times for two sets, but make sure to relax after each set. By doing so, you will really improve the flexibility and strength of the spine.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief

First of all, sit up straight on the floor with legs stretched out in front. Plus, ensure that both your legs remain joined together. Slowly bend forward and hold the thumbs of both legs using hand’s thumb and index finger. Now, again bend forward and try to touch your head to your knee. If you are not able to catch your toes, then try to go as forward as you can. Maintain this posture for around 20 to 30 seconds before returning to the initial position. Repeat this asana 10-12 times per set for two sets and also make sure to relax in Shavasana after each set. Regular practice of Paschimottanasana gives a good stretch in hamstrings, stretches the whole spine, and thus helps in relieving back pain.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief

Lay flat on your back on the floor with your arms on your sides. Now slowly bend both your knees and hold them together with your arms. Then, pull your knees towards your chest portion & simultaneously lift your head up and try to touch your knees with your forehead. While doing this, keep your breathing normal. Maintain this pose for 20-30 seconds. Afterwards, slowly keep your head down, release your arms, and finally keep your legs straight on the floor. Repeat this for around ten to twelve times for two sets (Note: relax your body by doing Shavasana after each set). Pawanmuktasana is a very relaxing pose and it can really help ease the back pain. This particular yoga posture gives a good stretch to the spine, and hence maintains the mobility of spine for a prolonged period of time.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief

Sit on the floor with straight back and neck. Keep your legs in front of you, together and completely straight. Now, bend your right knee and place the right foot to the left of your left thigh. Then bend your left knee and bring the heel of the left leg next to your right hip. Place your left elbow on the side of your right thigh. Now, hold the ankle of your right leg with your left hand, while pushing your right thigh in. Place your right palm on the floor just behind you and then slowly twist your whole body towards your right shoulder. Hold this pose for about thirty seconds and then reverse all the steps in the same sequence in which you achieved the posture. Now relax for a few seconds and after that repeat the same with the other side. You can perform this asana for four to five times for each side. This asana has proved to be very beneficial in increasing the flexibility of the spine. Plus, it greatly tones up the lower back muscles.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief
First, lie down straight on your stomach with your arms on your side. Keep your muscles relaxed, and also keep your legs joined together. Place your arms below the shoulder’s corresponding sides, just beside your chest. Now inhale and slowly push your upper body on your arms. Lift the upper body to the maximum possible extent, without straightening your elbows. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly come back to the original position while exhaling. You can repeat this exercise for five times. No matter how many times you do this posture, make sure to relax your body after each set. This specific asana greatly improves the blood circulation in the spine. It can even strengthen your back muscles. Above all, regular practice of this asana can help in maintaining good posture of the body by improving the flexibility of spine.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief
Lie down straight on your abs with hands on the sides and legs joined together. Your abdomen, chest and chin should touch the ground. Clench your fists and place them facing upwards. Next, inhale deeply and hold your breath. Now, taking the support of the fist, slowly lift both your legs up in the air, without bending the knees. Try to lift your legs as high as possible, but at the same time make sure that your upper part of the body is still on the ground. Hold your legs in the raised position for about five seconds. Finally, exhale slowly and get back to the normal position. Shalabhasana is indeed one of the best asanas for strengthening the back muscles. Moreover, it increases the flexibility of spine and keeps the spine mobile.

Yoga & Exercise Tips for Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient to get relief

Pranayama is yet another effective yoga asana for Ankylosing Spondylitis sufferers. This simple yet powerful breathing exercise is extremely beneficial for the relaxation of the muscles. Begin by sitting upright in a comfortable cross-legged position. Now slowly take a long, deep breath. As you inhale, pull your stomach inward. Now hold your breath and count to 5. After that, slowly exhale and relax your abdominal muscles. For optimum results, do this breathing exercise for around ten minutes everyday.

Vital role of exercise in AS

In addition to the above mentioned yoga poses, there are some other exercises that are equally beneficial for Ankylosing Spondylitis patients. For example - simple exercises like side bends, deep breathing, controlled stretch, wall exercise, back twisting and cardiovascular exercises, all are shown to be effective in the treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Regular practice of these exercises will not only help you get relief from AS symptoms, but also prevent several complications that might occur in later stages of the disease.

Now, if you are suffering from this deadly disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis then take a look at the tips mentioned below. All these are time-tested tips for physical workouts, and following them will definitely help you get the much-needed relief from joint stiffness, pain and other symptoms of AS.

Exercise tips:
  • Working out with a large exercise ball has proven to be very useful for strengthening core muscles, which in turn is very important for maintaining a straight back. And the best part is that these exercise balls help strengthen your core muscles, whilst accommodating the reduced range in movement in the hips, spine and shoulders.
  • Swimming and exercising in a heated pool is very much beneficial for people suffering from AS. However, if you’ve neck restriction then always use a mask or a snorkel when swimming.
  • Try to maintain good and proper posture all the time.
  • Deep breathing exercises can really help improve your lung capacity.
  • Lie flat on your front on a firm surface every morning and evening (for about 20 minutes).
  • Avoid exercises that involve bending any of the fused joints. Moreover, avoid any sports or activities with increased risk of falling.
Image Source:


Never thought such exercises exist for people experiencing Ankylosing Spondylitis. Thank you for this informative write-up. Have a good one!

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More