People suffering from ankylosing spondylitis (AS) can improve their muscle strength and walking performance through exercises with a Swiss ball, according to the findings of a Brazilian study presented at the 2013 congress of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR).
As Medical News Today reports, the ramdomised study involved 60 AS patients divided into two groups of 30. The intervention group completed eight exercises with free weights on a Swiss ball. These patients worked out twice a week for a period of 16 weeks, with the loads increased every four weeks. Patients in the control group were only treated with drugs.
Presenting the findings at EULAR 2013, lead author Marcelo de Souza noted that AS patients were advised to manage their condition through exercises but there was still little information regarding the benefits of specific work-out regimens. De Souza, physiotherapist at the Rheumatology Division of the Federal University of Sao Paulo, said that the study had confirmed the benefits of progressive muscle strengthening through an exercise programme involving a Swiss ball. It leads to significant improvement in functional capacity, muscle strength and mobility in AS patients and achieves these results without worsening disease activity. In addition, subjects in the intervention group were found to be more satisfied with their treatment than patients in the control group.
AS is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and joints in the lower back and pelvis. Initial symptoms include chronic pain and stiffness, which can be alleviated through exercise. The highest prevalence of AS is observed in northern European countries.