10 Best Exercises for Ankylosing Spondylitis

1. Press Up to Stretch Your Spine

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can shorten the spine and muscles in your back. Stretch with this move to help “rounded” back and back pain.

Lie on your stomach with your legs behind you. Slowly prop yourself up on your elbows, so your chest is off the ground. If you’re able, straighten your arms. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

Do this move once a day.

2. Wall Sit for Better Posture

Stand with your back against a wall. Put your feet shoulder-width apart, and away from the wall. Slowly slide your back down the wall. It may take time, but work towards being able to get to the point where your thighs are parallel with the floor — like you’re sitting in a chair. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Hold for longer as you get stronger.

Repeat 3-5 times. Do 3 to 5 times a week.

Exercising muscles that AS affects — in your back, shoulders, neck, butt, and hips — can help you move more easily.

3. Plank for a Stronger Core

To make sure you’re strong enough for this exercise, start in a standing position with your feet flat on the floor and your forearms on the kitchen counter.

Once you can do that fairly easily, move on to the harder version. Your stomach, back, and butt muscles help your posture. Work them with this move — no crunches needed! Kneel on a mat. Put your forearms on the ground. Push your legs out behind you and balance on your toes. Squeeze your stomach and butt muscles to hold your body in a straight line. Don’t crane your head up or let it hang down. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. Add more time as you become stronger. Always keep your core tight. Do this 3 to 5 times a week.

4. Try Standing Leg Raises to Loosen Tight Hips

Hold the back of a chair or railing. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in your knees. Slowly lift one leg out to the side so it’s a few inches off the ground. Then lower it back to the starting position.

Next, kick the same leg straight behind you to 45 degrees. Remember to keep good posture. Avoid bending over at the waist. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg.

Do this move 3 to 5 times a week.

5. Do Chin Tucks to Stretch Your Neck

AS can make you lean forward. That can cause your neck to get tight and give you headaches. This move can strengthen your neck to keep you upright and relieve tightness.

Lie on your back. Without lifting your head off the floor, tuck your chin in slightly toward your chest. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Do this stretch twice a day.

Uncomfortable? Try a small, rolled-up towel under your neck for support.

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