Health Central: Exercise for Ankylosing Spondylitis: What You Need to Know

EXERCISE MAY SEEM unappealing—even dangerous—when you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a form of inflammatory arthritis that can lead to spinal fusion. But not exercising can actually be more dangerous if you have AS.

In fact, people with AS who don’t exercise may experience more fatigue and pain because a lack of movement leads to decreased range of motion, stiffness, and muscle weakness. Staying active will not only help you manage the symptoms of AS but also help strengthen your spine for years to come.

“Exercise keeps the strain off of the joints of the spine, by offsetting the forces on the joints and transferring them [to] the muscles,” says Patrick Doherty, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT.

Dr. Doherty likens the spine to a flagpole. “If the wind blows, it sways back and forth,” he says. “Stabilizing cables strengthen the flagpole, much as muscles around the spine strengthen the spine, and help take the strain off of the main structure.”

Ready to start stabilizing? Here’s why—and how—to work out when you have AS so you can keep your spine both stable and mobile.

Continue reading the article here.

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