Benefits of Exercise
Exercise is an important part of any spondylitis treatment program, along with good posture habits and medication to reduce pain and stiffness when needed. Fitting exercise into your day can be tough, but it needs to be done. A spondylitis exercise program will help you maintain good posture, flexibility and eventually help to lessen pain. The trick is to do enough but not too much. This can vary from day to day. Be good to yourself and never push to the point of pain or extreme fatigue.
Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician or physical therapist. They can help provide modifications to suit your particular needs. Ask which exercises you should do and then check to see that you are doing them correctly.
Exercise & Spondylitis
As a teen living with spondylitis, you should know that there are specific exercise benefits for those with spondylitis. Regular daily exercise can improve posture; and maintain joint motion. Better overall flexibility can improve function and many people report that exercise is their strategy for relieving pain.
If you have pain and the potential for stiffness, it is essential to follow a daily routine of exercises to maintain joint mobility.
When there is pain and swelling in a joint or around the joint, the tendency is to limit movement in that joint. This can lead to a gradual loss of joint motion. If this reduced motion continues for a long time, it can be difficult to regain it. It is therefore important to do an exercise program to maintain full mobility in all joints, particularly those joints where there is pain, warmth or swelling. Keeping your motion is much easier than trying to regain it. Range of motion exercises, which are done without weights, not only move the joint through its full range but also have the effect of alleviating pain in the joint.
A person who is in pain tends to bend forward at the spine to ease the pain. Improving strength in the back muscles that hold the spine straight will help to lessen the tendency to bend forward.
Joints that are mobile are less painful. When the joint is painful, muscles tighten to control motion, resulting in more stiffness and pain.
Set aside a time to do your daily exercises. This could after school, before dinner, or half an hour before bedtime. There are 24 hours in the day; so exercising for 20 minutes still leaves you with a lot of time for other things. If you have a regular schedule, it will be easier to stay with the exercise program. And remember, if the exercise is fun, you will more likely stay with it.
How to Know How Much To Do
Symptoms such as pain and stiffness change with your disease activity.
When your disease is more active you should continue your range of motion exercises and continuing walking, but decrease strengthening exercises and certainly your strenuous recreational activity. Less pain and morning stiffness is a sign that you are improving and that your disease is less active.
You will probably be sore when you exercise especially if you are new to exercise or your disease is active. If the muscle soreness or joint pain lasts for more than two hours after exercise or activity then you have done too much. Start out slowly with an exercise program. If you do too much and are very painful you probably won't want to exercise again soon. Regulate your activity so that you can be as active as possible without causing lasting or severe discomfort.
Your range of motion exercises should be done daily to maintain your mobility. This is true even when your disease is in an acute phase. Repeat each exercise only a few times and do them less vigorously but still do them. Reduce your strengthening and endurance exercises when your disease is very active.