Ankylosing Spondylitis Physical Yoga Therapy and Exercise

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that affects the spine. However, it may affect other joints and areas of your body as well. It is an inflammatory disease of the spine that induce pain and stiffness. For many this disease is only mild and doesn’t interfere with everyday functioning. In severe cases, the vertebrae can fuse right into a kyphosis, or rounding of the upper spine. Sometimes the shoulders, hips, heels and hands could be affected as well. Along with medication you will find exercises you can do, to help manage your symptoms and reduce disability.

Enthesitis (inflammation of the place where ligaments and muscles affix to bones) accounts for much of the pain and stiffness of AS. This inflammation eventually can lead to bony fusion of the joints (in which the fibrous ligaments transform to bone, and also the joint permanently grows together).

Ankylosing Spondylitis Physical Yoga Therapy

Ankylosing Spondylitis Physical Yoga Therapy

What are the effects?

Pain in the lower back and buttocks are usually the first symptoms of AS. In contrast to mechanical low back pain, low back pain and stiffness in AS people are worse after a period of rest or on waking up in the morning and improve after exercise, a warm bath or a shower. Progressive stiffening of the spine is usual, with ankylosis (fusion of some or all spinal joints) occurring after a little years of disease in many, although not all, patients.


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


First of all, crunches straight on the floor with legs extended in front. Plus, ensure that your legs remain joined together. Slowly bend forward and contain 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’re not able to catch your toes, then attempt to go as forward as possible. Maintain this posture for approximately 20 to 30 seconds before going back to the initial position. Repeat this asana 10-12 times per looking for two sets and also be sure to relax in Shavasana after each set.


Take a seat on the floor with straight neck and back. Keep your legs in front of you, together and completely straight. Now, bend your right knee and put the right foot to the left of your left thigh. Then bend your left knee and produce the heel of the left leg alongside your right hip. Put your left elbow on the side of your right thigh. Now, contain the ankle of your right leg together with your left hand, while pushing your right thigh in. Put your right palm on the floor just behind you and also then slowly twist your entire body towards your right shoulder. Hold this pose for around thirty seconds and then reverse all of the steps in the same sequence that you achieved the posture.


Lay flat lying on your back on the floor with your arms in your sides. Now slowly bend your knees and hold them along with your arms. Then, pull the knees towards your chest portion & simultaneously raise your head up and try to touch the knees with your forehead. While carrying this out, keep your breathing normal. Maintain this pose for 20-30 seconds. Afterwards, slowly keep the head down, release your arms, and lastly keep your legs straight on the ground. Repeat this for around ten to twelve times for 2 sets (Note: relax the body by doing Shavasana after each set).


Pranayama is an additional effective yoga asana for Ankylosing Spondylitis sufferers. This straightforward yet powerful breathing exercise is extremely good for the relaxation of the muscles. Start by sitting upright in a comfortable cross-legged position. Now slowly have a long, deep breath. As you inhale, pull your stomach inward. Now hold your breath and count to 5. Next, slowly exhale and relax your stomach muscles. For optimum results, do this breathing exercise for approximately ten minutes everyday.

Exercise tips:

  • Working out with a sizable exercise ball has proven to be very helpful for strengthening core muscles, which is very important for maintaining an upright back. And the best part is the fact that these exercise balls help strengthen your core muscles, whilst accommodating the lower range in movement within the hips, spine and shoulders.
  • Swimming and exercising inside a heated pool is very much good for people suffering from AS. However, if you’ve neck restriction then always employ a mask or a snorkel when swimming.
  • Try to keep good and proper posture constantly.
  • Deep breathing exercises can really help improve your lung capacity.
  • Lie flat in your front on a firm surface every day and evening (for about Twenty minutes).

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