What is the role of physical therapy and exercise in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS)?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence H Brent, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Physical therapy is important for maintaining function. [125, 126] A proper exercise program is a crucial component of such therapy. Patients obtain a significant reduction in symptoms after exercising. Referral to physical therapy or to a rehabilitation specialist is useful in assisting patients to develop an appropriate exercise program. Water therapy and swimming are excellent activities for maintaining mobility and fitness.

Postural training is also useful. Spinal extension and deep-breathing exercises help maintain spinal mobility, encourage erect posture, and promote chest expansion. Maintaining an erect posture during daily activities and sleeping on a firm mattress with a thin pillow also tend to reduce the tendency toward thoracic kyphosis.

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