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Developing a bamboo spine or a hunched posture over time is one of the most dreaded complication of Ankylosing Spondylitis. Fortunately learning to manage your posture throughout the day and night can help you maintain optimal spine alignment.
An important step towards managing your condition is to learn to maintain the right posture is to know what is 'neutral spine'.
Neutral spine : It is the correct alignment of the spine to the rest of your body, such that there is no stress or strain on your spinal joints, muscles and ligaments.
Posture relates to the position that you hold your body when standing, sitting or even sleeping.
The neutral spine has 3 curves:
Stand in front of the mirror and visualize the 3 curves in your spine. See your posture at a neutral position.
Maintaining your spine at this ‘neutral position’ throughout is the key.
Find the right posture for every activity.
Adjust the height of your chair according to the height of your desk so that your feet touch the floor.
Keep your chin up.
Ensure your shoulders are relaxed and without strain (shoulders back, ribs in)
Take regular breaks to stretch.
Adjust the height of desk so that your keyboard is right in front of you and screen is at eye level.
Your arms should be bent in an ‘L’ shape, elbows by your side.
Ensure your spine is in neutral position.
Avoid large pillows.
Avoid placing a pillow under your thighs unless it helps during a flare.
Use a firm mattress.
Sleeping on your back is the best position to maintain a neutral spine. If you are unable to sleep on your back, try to find a posture that works for you.
Pay attention to your posture while exercising.
Maintain neutral spine at all times.
Ensure work surfaces are high to prevent stooping.
Maintain neutral spine position.
Bend at the knee so that your back remains straight.
Optimize your posture, maximize your movement, take control of your pain!
Spine universe. Ankylosing Spondylitis and Posture. Available [Online] at: https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spinal-arthritis/ankylosing-spondylitis/ankylosing-spondylitis-posture Accessed on 20 Sep 2021
Sieper J, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2002;61(Suppl III):iii8–iii18
Arthritis Ireland. Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available [Online] at: https://www.arthritisireland.ie/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=a60cb008-5014-422d-b3d1-c04405e6f1a9 Accessed on 20 Sep 2021
NHS. How to sit at your desk correctly. Available [Online] at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly/ Accessed on 20 Sep 2021
Arthritis health. How to Sleep Better if You Have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available [Online] at: https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/how-sleep-better-if-you-have-ankylosing-spondylitis Accessed on 20 Sep 2021
Back to Action. NAAS. Available [Online] at: https://nass.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Back-to-Action-low-resolution-version.pdf Accessed on 20 Sep 2021
Disclaimer: This material is not meant to replace professional advice from HCPs. Please consult your doctors/physiotherapist if you have any questions or before undertaking any physical activities.