The pain caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis is severe and may weaken the body muscles which hinder the effective movement of the body. The absence of effective medications for the disease is the most heartbreaking thing for a patient suffering from AS. At this darkening phase, physiotherapy is the main treatment that could show a ray of hope to them. Along with physiotherapy, yoga can also show amazing results in treating the pain caused by ankylosing spondylitis.
Yoga, in general, if we talk about, increases the flexibility of the body, and also helps in relieving the pain in any part of the body. Studies have shown that doing yoga exercises for ankylosing spondylitis may relieve the pain and its effects could be seen for a longer period. Amazing results are observed about regular yoga and AS along with physiotherapy. Yoga not only gives a physical effect but emotionally also is very helpful as it relieves the patient of the anxiety caused by the severe pain observed on a continuous basis.
Ways Yoga Can Help in Ankylosing Spondylitis:
- Reduce the chances or severity of secondary complications.
- Help improve management of symptoms.
- It enhances and improves joint mobility and alignment.
- It improves muscle health and function.
- Enhances breathing patterns of the body.
- Improves the capacity of bearing pain in the body.
- Increase self-efficacy.
- Increases the feelings of joy and pleasure.
- Maximizes the quality of life and the ability of functioning of the body smoothly.
Yoga poses for Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Here are best nine yoga poses that may help in Ankylosing Spondylitis pain management:
1. Child’s pose
The child’s pose, also known as BALASANA. It gently relaxes the muscles of the lower back by stretching the muscles passively. It also restores the balance and the equanimity of the body.
- Kneel down on the mat keeping your knees apart from each other, for about 6-8 inches.
- Now lower your chest on your thighs and forehead touching the ground.
- You can place the hands either in the front facing down or simply slide the hands back facing upwards.
- Breath deep while in the pose. Rise and rest.
2. Bridge Pose
The bridge pose, also known as SETU BAND ASANA, stretches the spine, neck, and chest. It also strengthens the back muscles.
- To begin, lie on your back.
- Fold your knees and keep your feet at a little distance on the floor, with knees and ankles in a straight line.
- Keep your arms beside your body, palms facing downwards.
- Inhale and slowly lift your lower back, then middle back and then upper back from the floor; touch the chest with the chin without bringing the chin down. Your bottom should be firm up. Both the thighs are parallel to each other and the floor.
- Keep breathing easily.
- Hold the posture for a minute or two and exhale as you gently release the pose.
3. Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog, ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA stretches your back and gives flexibility in the body.
- Stand on hands and feet, such that the body forms a table-like structure.
- Exhale and gently lift your hips and straighten your elbows and knees.
- Your hands should be in line with your shoulders, and your feet in line with your hips. Make sure that your toes point outwards.
- Press your hands on the ground and stretch your neck. Your ears should touch your inner arms, and your gaze should be at the navel.
- Hold for a few seconds, and then, bend your knees and return to the table position.
4. Cobra Pose
The snake (cobra) pose, also called BHUJANGASANA stretches your back, lungs, and chest.
- Lie on your stomach and place your forehead on the floor.
- Keep your feet together or hip-width apart.
- Place your hands underneath your shoulders; keep your elbows close to your body.
- Inhale and start lifting your head and chest off the floor, and don’t place all of your weight on your hands. Keep the elbows slightly bent and kept the back muscles straight.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Exhale and lower yourself back to the ground.
- Repeat the procedure two to three times.
5. Locust Pose
The locust pose, also called SALABHASANA strengthens lower back muscles.
- Lie on your belly with your legs straight. Place your arms by your sides with palms up, let your chin gently rest on the floor.
- Inhale and raise your head to look forward. Exhale, and lift your chest and arms. Keep your arms by the side of your body with your palms facing down. Lift your upper spine and reach your arms back toward your feet.
- Use your inner thighs to lift your legs up toward the ceiling. Your weight should rest on your lower ribs and belly.
- Keep your breath smooth and even.
- Hold up to one minute. Exhale, and release your body to the ground. Repeat the process.
6. Mountain Pose
The mountain pose or TADASANA is a simple stretching exercise helpful for the patient.
- Stand upright with your body straight.
- Join the thumb of the toes but putting your heels a little apart.
- Try to bring the energy of the whole body from the toes and let it travel from the whole body up to the head. In a way, you are stretching your inner body without moving the outer one.
- Lift your body from the heels putting the weight on the toes and stretch the whole body upwards.
- Breath during the asana and put your body in a straight line.
- Release the asana and stand a relax position.
7. Cat Pose
The cat pose, MARJARYASANA strengthens and elongates your spine and neck.
- Stand on your hands and knees, resembling a table. Keep your back straight.
- Now bending your back downward raise your head back as much as you can. Inhale the breath, hold.
- In the next pose move your back upwards and move your head downwards so that you can look at your navel. Exhale your breath, hold.
- Repeat the steps to make your spine flexible.
8. Cow Pose
The cow pose, BITILASANA warms the spine and releases spine tension. The cat and cow pose yoga are to be done simultaneously as they go hand in hand with each other.
- Kneel on all four limbs, same as in the cat pose.
- Now arch your lower back and torso and raise your head and give it a good stretch; breath.
- Now again raise your lower back and torso and bring your head in between your both hands looking at your navel. Breath out.
- Now repeat the procedure for better movability of the spine and giving good warmth to the body for further asanas.
9. Staff Pose
The staff pose DANDASANA strengthens your core, improves posture, and stretches your neck and shoulders.
- Sit on the mat with your back straight and legs extended out in your front.
- Place your hands next to your hips on the floor.
- Press the sitting bones to the floor and lay pressure on them.
- Now keeping your back straight point the crown of your head at the ceiling to strengthen and lengthen the spine.
- Breath normally and hold the posture for about 20-30 seconds.
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Performing a single yoga pose now and then won’t do much. You need to practice all these yoga poses to get relieved from the back pain. Select a particular time of the day to relax and perform the set of nine yoga poses to get relief from pain. Yoga done along with physiotherapy exercises for ankylosing spondylitis would do wonders for the pain management.
Points to keep in mind before doing Yoga:
- Don’t eat two to three hours before doing the exercise.
- Don’t take a bath immediately after doing exercises.
- It is best to do yoga on a levelled floor and at a place where there is sufficient fresh air.
- One should not practice yoga directly on the ground, spread a mat or a carpet on the floor before doing exercise.
- The environment should be peaceful and clean as yoga not only will provide physical well being, but it also gives mental peace to the person.
- Practice yoga every day on a regular basis and preferably at the same time.
- Asanas should be done under the supervision of an expert.
- Inhalation and exhalation of the breath should be taken care of during the practice of the asanas.
- Before starting a yoga session, some stretching exercise should be done to avoid sprains, muscles strains or any other further injuries.