7 Things Your Physical Therapist Wants You to Know About AS Pain

20220222-105513Things-Your-PT-wants-you-know

One of the most noticeable symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is pain—either intense, stabbing pain when moving in particular ways, or a dull ache caused by stiffness and inflammation. Some folks experience both. While stretching and exercise may not entirely eradicate your pain, they are part of the treatment that may help to lessen pain levels in the long run. Physical therapists offer advice on how to lessen pain, reduce early morning muscle stiffness, and feel more comfortable in general.

1. Try Gentle Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates both place a strong emphasis on developing trunk and mid back mobility, making them suitable for those with AS. These techniques, combined with exercises suggested by your physical therapist, are an excellent place to begin treating your pain. If you don't have access to a studio, no worries: there are a variety of online workout applications that provide courses that you can perform from the comfort of your own home. Just remember to take it easy at first and stick to shorter sessions.

2. Focus on Your Breathing

Paying attention to your breathing is the best-kept secret to effectiveness, whether you're performing yoga, Pilates, or just mild stretches. The sort you'll want to do is diaphragmatic breathing, which draws the diaphragm down with each inhalation and is also known as "belly breathing." This allows your lungs to fill more easily, resulting in modest spine movement. This aids in reducing the detrimental effects of AS on spinal motion. Even if you're not moving much, taking these breaths can help you create more motion in your back, which can help you feel better.

3. Do Back-Strengthening Exercises

While general movement is beneficial, any type of back-strengthening exercise can be especially beneficial in lowering AS pain. Moves like spine extension, spine rotation, cat-cow positions, and dumbbell rows fall into this category. Exercises that enhance general functional mobility and encourage the recruitment of the muscles between your shoulder blades are especially beneficial for persons with AS. If you're not sure which ones to do, try physical therapy and put with your doctor a list of a few moves you can do at home a couple of times each week.

4. Find an Activity You Enjoy

While regular movement is important for reducing AS discomfort, you'll be far more likely to stick to it if you love it. Consider what you enjoy doing the most, especially if you're just beginning and want to establish a consistent fitness program. After that, when you make it a habit, you can build on it. If you enjoy walking outside, for example, you can integrate stretches before and after each walk.

5. Set Meaningful Goals

Simply minimizing your AS discomfort may appear to be a sufficient objective, but if your pain level decreases, you may quit exercising as a result, putting you right back where you started. As a result, setting realistic yet important goals can help you feel like you're making progress. For example, maybe you want to go on a bike trip with your kids in a few months, or maybe you want to undertake a 5K walk for charity, or maybe you just want to sleep better without discomfort waking you up. Consult with your physical therapist and set goals for yourself along the way.

6. Stretch Before Bed and When You Wake

Because sleep is so crucial for lowering inflammation, it's critical to use measures that help you get the rest you need. Gentle stretches can be incorporated into your night routine. Because AS is an inflammatory disease, pain is increased when the body is inflamed. Stretch before going to bed and when you wake up to reduce inflammation.

7. Add in Gentle Twists

People with AS discomfort sometimes try to avoid twisting since it aggravates their pain. While a sudden twist, especially one that stretches beyond your range of motion, might be uncomfortable, mild twists can help you improve your mobility. Rotation of the trunk can improve strength and flexibility while also reducing stiffness that can cause pain. Twists are common in yoga, but you can include them into your day at any time. Also, remember to take deep breaths while you twist to help your muscles relax.

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Sunday, 21 April 2024