Exercise programmes may reduce some ankylosing spondylitis symptoms says review of the evidence

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ankylosing spondylitis exercise, balance, AS pain, AS function, arthritis digestDo exercise programmes actually help people with ankylosing spondylitis, experts asked in a Cochrane review of the evidence.

The panel looked at 14 trials of 1,579 adults with ankylosing spondylitis that compared exercise therapy programmes with no intervention or usual care.

The most frequently used exercises were those designed to help improve strength, flexibility, stretching and breathing. Most exercise programmes were delivered along with drug therapy or a biological agent.

When compared with no exercise, there was some evidence that exercise programmes improve function, may reduce pain and slightly reduce global patient assessment of disease activity.

But compared with usual care, there was evidence that exercise programmes probably have little or no effect on improving function or reducing pain and may have little or no effect on reducing patient assessment of disease activity.

After looking at the research, the authors remained unsure if exercise programmes improve spinal mobility, reduce fatigue or induce adverse effects.

The bottom line? Exercise programmes appear to be better than nothing in terms of reducing pain and improving function, but no better than usual care.

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