Managing your AS & Resources
Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to help yourself
Your script for managing your AxSpA is two fold:
To manage your axial SpA (AS) well it’s not enough to rely on medication. You also have to exercise.
Axial SpA (AS) is a condition that you will grow old with and during its course it may affect you differently at different times. The more flexible and fit you are, the better you will deal with the symptoms of AxspA.
Benefits of exercise
The focus for exercise for people with axial SpA (AS) is on improving or maintaining your:
- Range of movement in joints
- Posture control
- Muscle strength
- Muscle length
- Lung capacity
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Increased flexibility will make everyday tasks easier to manage
- Increased range of movement will increase your ability to function
- Improved posture makes you feel better in yourself and reduces feelings of self consciousness
- Exercise is physically tiring which improves sleep quality, ensuring you wake feeling refreshed and improve your sleep
- Reduction in stiffness and pain – exercise can result in less pain at night and improved sleep quality
Exercise means moving. There are always stretches that you can do while sitting or lying down. More active forms of exercise are beneficial provided they are low impact, for example, walking or swimming, and are done on a regular basis.
Any exercise is better than no exercise unless you are in the midst of a flare. Supervised exercise and group exercise are more effective than exercising at home because you are more motivated in a supervised or group setting.
Any exercise you decide to undertake needs to be regular, consistent and kept up over the long term. So, it’s important to choose something you enjoy.
Exercise Resources For As Patients
Prepared by the Turkish Society for Rheumatology and the Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with support from UCB.
NASS in the UK produced a set of exercises called Back to Action.
The mobility, flexibility and breathing sections can easily be done at home.
Remember, we recommend that you do these sections every day.
You will probably need to be at a gym to use the weights machines, (but you
only need to do the strength section twice a week).
The cardiovascular section can be walking, cycling or swimming and so can be
very flexible, even part of your commute. Remember, the cardiovascular section
should be 5 times a week but can be split into 10 minute sections.
Resources For Patients And Health Professionals
What is Axial Spondyloarthritis
This infographic explains the terms Axial Spondyloarthritis, non-radiographic spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis or radiographic spondyloarthritis – and other terms under the umbrella term AxSpA.
Credit: ASIF.INFO & UCB
Women and AxSpA
Historically AxSpA was thought of as a man’s disease. This is now known to be incorrect but women continue to be misdiagnosed. This infographic shows some of the statistics
This questionnaire* can help assess if your back pain is characteristic of inflammatory back pain – the major symptom of axial spondyloarthritis.
Approximately 5% of individuals with back pain are considered to have axial spondyloarthritis.2
axSpA is a chronic inflammatory disease, predominantly involving the spine and sacroiliac joints.