What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Spondyloarthropathy is a group of rheumatic, arthritic disorders, which affect the areas where the joints and ligaments connect to the bone called entheses. Although it most commonly found in the spine, the limbs can also be affected. In the less severe forms, such as ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation is the prominent symptom. If the condition becomes advanced, the chronic inflammation cycle can cause ankylosis. This is when scar tissue is created, especially around the spine, then a layer of bone develops and eventually leads to the fusion of the spinal joints and ligaments.
How Does This Happen?
The causes are unclear but there seems to be a major genetic component. However, exercise has been known to decrease the symptoms of inflammation while improving muscular imbalances, joint mobility, posture and overall function. As such, we can infer that sedentary lifestyles and lack of movement don’t help the situation. More specifically, being a fixed position with bad posture may contribute to the inflammation.
Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Inflammation, pain, and/or stiffness in the joints, neck, spine (lumbar and sacroiliac joint), hip, and buttocks
- Difficulty taking deep breaths
- Pain progressively gets worse over time
How Do You Fix It?
To address Ankylosing Spondylitis, the focus should be on joint stabilization and movement. We would recommend the following exercises:
- Release – Hip External Rotators & Pec Major
- Activate – Internal hip rotators / Laying adduction roll
- Integrate – Transversus Abdominus / Lower body
- Strengthen – Spinal Erectors & Scapular retractors / Cobra