Anklosing Spondylitis after spine fusion/Weight Training

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Hi I am 39 and had been suffereing from lower back and hip pain in my early 20's. After some physiotherapy I felt much better. I have recently started reisitance trainig and realised my sqatting & deadlift would not increase in weight. I started feeling alot of muscluar fatigue in my back. I have been to see an osteopath who has unofficially diagnosed me with AS. He confirms that part of my lower spine has no movement. Does weight training help and is there a way to strenghten muscles around the fused spine area. Any help would be apreciated.

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  • Posted


    I have had as since my teens early 20s and have exercised a lot to keep it at bay.

    i find overhead lifts tend to compress the spine.  Pushing out in a seated position does not aggregate 

    Good exercises are -

    Laying on front with opposite diagonal arm leg stretch - it hurts!

    Laying on back - knees up, place hand flat under your back - push small of back down in to your hands.  In the same position - if you can rotate knees down to the side and back the other way.

    seated on a bed or chair - pull you knee up to your chest repeatedly one leg at a time

    Sounds silly - but rolling around on the floor is good

    seated pull down 

    on a bench, laying on your back arms outstretched pull a weight up to 90 degrees and lower back down x 20 - really strengthens and stretches between shoulder blades 

    I find running helps me too

    ....the biggest thing though is diet - find foods that are reacting to flare your joints

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your help. I am not sure regarding diet. I havnt read anywhere that diet can effect flare ups. I am mainly on a healthy vegan diet, with protien supplements. Please can you express more regarding diet? 


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  • Posted

    Diet changes to help in treating arthritis are overlooked by most doctors - but this is in face of so many studies that have shown that both AS & RA are a fuelled by an misdirected immune reaction to foreign proteins that can leak in to the blood stream from the gut.

    One of the foreign protein that has been studied he most is Klebsiella for AS - a gram negative bacteria that feeds off of dietary starch.

    Some sufferers of AS can prevent and stop flares with a low starch diet that starves the gut bacteria.

    Beside the bacteria theory there ore two dietary elements - 

    1) gluten - I know this is banded around everywhere but proper scientific studies now back up the previously "quack" theories that gluten should not be consumed if you have an autoimmune disease.  The proof has come from researchers including Allesio Fasano from University of Maryland, USA that shows that the gut lining is opened to let "stuff" in to he blood stream when we all eat gluten.  Most people don't react to the leakage

    2) an immune system struggling with debris bacteria and other stuff from a leaky / permeable gut can develop immune reactions to food proteins 

    I am not anti-drugs but I am also aware that many of the drugs including NSAID and methotrexate also cause the gut to become more permeable - so in doing they job they exacerbate the underlying cause.

    I won't even take a headache tablet these days - as I have noticed a flare about 24 hours afterwards.


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  • Posted

    Hi there!

    i'm 33 and have been suffering from AS for the last 10 years. I take anti TNF injections which are working brilliantly for me as my case is pretty severe so exercise alone wasn't an option (I was very active before the symptoms got really bad)

    i agree with Treatmegently in that you have to avoid exercises that compress your spine. Strengthening your lower spine is all about strengthening your core, but I believe it's 50/50 flexibility to strength that will help overcome the AS. Every morning I stand against a wall, feet together in th crucifix position, there should be a natural curve in your spine that you can fit your hand into. You have to try and arch your spine the other way to close that gap with the wall, i do a set of 20 of these slowly to relieve my morning stiffness. 

    In the same position I roll th back of my head up and down the wall to stretch the top of my spine with my tongue on the roof of my mouth (to relax the jaw). Then turn my head to touch my cheek both ways. This is my painful morning ritual that I would advise you start before the morning stiffness inevitably sets in.

    in terms of strength it's all about low impact and no compaction of the spine. I would suggest a lot of ab work. If you can do it, 2 minute planks are the way. Also, kettle bell excersizes and work on the gym ball will strengthen your central and side abs safely. You may find straight sit ups and weight lifts leave your lower spine aching so like me, may not be suitable.

    i do a lot of swimming too. Certain strokes may irritate the area (breast stroke) but generally it's very helpful and works on both strength and flexibility at the same time.

    sounds like I'm a lot worse than you, but hope some of this helps

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