Yoga for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Shelly Prosko, PT, PYT, CPI
I recently had a physical therapist colleague ask me for advice about some ‘yoga poses’ that may help her client who has ankylosing spondylitis (AS). I explained that there are certainly some poses I would share with her that could potentially address some of the ‘general’ commonalities of the symptoms of AS and how people with AS may present in similar ways, but I also explained I thought it was important for her and her client to understand that:
1) therapeutic yoga is so much more than prescribing ‘poses’ for a particular dysfunction or special population
2) the statement, “yoga for ankylosing spondylitis” (or any diagnosis) tends to suggest (in my opinion) that we are using a reductionist approach and falling into the trap of treating/addressing a diagnosis instead of a person who is a living, breathing, moving, thinking, feeling and reacting being that is connected to and affected by the surrounding environment. A being that consists of complex systems and layers: each one influencing the other; including the nervous systems, digestive system, musculoskeletal system, hormonal system, immune system, integumentary system, emotional, social and spiritual layers, just to name a few.
That being said, there are certainly some common physiotherapy exercises + yoga methods that can be used for people looking to optimize spinal and rib mobility and alignment, maximize breath pattern, improve pain management, and/or calm the nervous system. But I suppose that would be a really long title for this article. Read more