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Spondyloarthritis Exercises for Better Posture

Updated on April 06, 2021
Article written by
Alison Channon

Strengthening the back muscles and improving your posture can help you better manage the inflammatory back pain caused by the various types of spondyloarthritis, including axial spondyloarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Regular exercise can strengthen your muscles, maintain or improve flexibility and range of motion, and support your overall quality of life.

These exercises are quick and require no equipment, aside from a chair. A towel or yoga mat is helpful for some of the exercises, but not required.

Talk to your rheumatologist, physical therapist, or other health care provider before beginning any new exercise program. They can help you identify which types of physical activity are best for you. If you experience pain or any discomfort while exercising, stop the exercise and tell your doctor.

Standing Exercises

Shoulder Raises

  • Pull your neck and shoulders back as you stand up tall.
  • Pull your shoulders up near your ears and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

Side Knee Touches

  • Stand up tall. Bend over to one side, reaching for your knee. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Straighten up and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat three times.

Wide Step Stretches

  • With one foot, take a wide step to the side and put your hands on that knee as you bend it slowly. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Straighten up and repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat three times.

Wide Side Stretches

  • Stand with your legs far apart. Lean to one side and put your hands on that thigh as you lower your body slowly. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Straighten up and repeat on the other side.
  • Repeat three times.

Floor Exercises

Arched Back Stretches

  • Get on your hands and knees. Put your head down and arch your back up. Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position. Push your chest forward and raise your head back. Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

Arm and Leg Extension

  • Get on your hands and knees. Slowly raise your left arm and right leg up. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position. Raise your right arm and left leg up. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat three times.

Chair Exercises

Neck Rotation

  • Sit up straight and look forward. Slowly rotate your neck towards the right shoulder, as far as you can comfortably stretch. Come back to the center. Repeat three times. On the final repetition, hold for five seconds.
  • Return to the starting position. Follow the same instructions on the left side.

Neck Side Flexion

  • Sit up straight and look forward. Stretch the right ear towards the right shoulder as far as you can go without moving your shoulder. Come back to the center. Repeat three times. On the final repetition, hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position. Follow the same instructions on the left side.

Thoracic Spine Rotation

  • Sit up straight and look forward. Fold your arms so that each palm is touching the opposite shoulder. Lift your elbows to the same level as your shoulders. Rotate your elbows and neck to the right without moving your pelvis. Come back to center. Repeat three times. On the final repetition, hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position. Follow the same instructions on the left side.

Exercise Tips

  • Go at your own pace. Take breaks between exercises if needed.
  • Get in the habit of checking your posture. Throughout the day, make sure your back is straight, your shoulders aren’t scrunched up near your ears, your feet are flat on the floor, and your head is not looking down. Use a wall or other stable vertical surface to check the straightness of your posture.

Exercise Resources

There are several resources that can help you keep up an exercise routine at home, including videos and apps. Note that UCB is not responsible for the content of the resources listed below.

Smartphone Apps

The following smartphone apps provide exercise instructions specifically designed for people with various types of spondylitis.

Videos

The Spondylitis Association of America offers several exercise videos, including instructions for stretches, cardiovascular exercises, and yoga.

Other Resources

The following resources from the Spondylitis Association of America can also help you understand the role of exercise in managing your health and find a plan that works for you.


References

  1. Ankylosing Spondylitis Posture Exercises. Turkish Society for Rheumatology and Turkish Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published May 18, 2017. Accessed January 2018. 0:58, 1:44, 2:02, 2:22, 2:44, 3:12.
  2. Morning Stretch. Spondylitis Association of America. Accessed November 30, 2020. 4:09, 5:30, 11:07
Alison Channon has nearly a decade of experience writing about chronic health conditions, mental health, and women's health. Learn more about her here.

A MySpondylitisTeam Member said:

Absolutely essential to my functioning to "exercise". The inversion table 4 x a day (very passive in nature but works) I wiggle and snap those vertebrae back in alignment, infrared sauna 3 x a week… read more

posted 3 months ago

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