Pilates Helpful for Ankylosing Spondylitis

April 8, 2020

Pilates helpful for this painful condition

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that affects the sacroiliac joints in the base of the spine, though it can be felt in other joints as well says the Spondylitis Association of America. Further, AS appears to be caused by a specific genetic protein marker called HLA-B27 and is characterized by inflammation, pain, and stiffness.

Though AS currently has no cure, common management remedies include medication, physical therapy, exercise, and using heat or cold to help reduce the pain. One study has found that Pilates can be helpful as well.

What Is Pilates?

If you’re not familiar, Pilates is low-impact exercise that consists of movements designed to improve flexibility, strength, and endurance. The Mayo Clinic shares that benefits of this type of exercise include:

  • Improved core stability and strength
  • Better posture and balance
  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Reduced back pain

Additionally, Pilates can be performed by individuals of all fitness levels, which is helpful since some studies are just beginning to reveal that it can help those who have been diagnosed with AS.

Pilates Shows Positive Results for Individuals with AS

For example, research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in October 2019 involved a total of 11 patients (both male and female), and each participated in two one-hour Pilates sessions per week for a total of 12 months.

Repetitions of each exercise were increased over time (from 6 reps to 10 reps) and the rest period was reduced (40 seconds to 15 seconds) as well.

Patients were assessed before initiating the study and at specific intervals; namely 4, 8, and 12 months. Tests were conducted each time to measure changes in the participants’ functional capacity, disease activity, spinal mobility, flexibility, and chest expansion.

Regarding function, test scores showed “significant improvement” as a result of Pilates training. These improvements occurred at all intervals, with all participants showing improvement after one year. “Significant” and “considerable” improvements were noted in regard to the other factors too.

Developing a Pilates Regimen

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, developing a regular Pilates regimen might provide relief.