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Everything you need to know about massage for Ankylosing Spondylitis

For a person with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), therapeutic massage therapy in Calgary can promote relaxation, pain alleviation, and enhanced blood flow. Not everyone will, however, benefit from a massage. Therefore those with ankylosing spondylitis need to be careful when choosing a trained, seasoned expert to administer the therapy.

Understand ankylosing spondylitis

AS is an autoimmune condition and a kind of chronic inflammatory arthritis. It predominantly affects the spine, frequently resulting in lower back discomfort that can limit mobility. 

This illness may limit a person's range of motion if their spinal bones fuse over time. A hunched or rounded back posture may result from an illness that spreads to the mid-spine and neck regions.

To alleviate the symptoms of AS, doctors frequently advise massage therapy. Sometimes, a person could discover that massage treatment reduces pain and stiffness while enhancing circulation. 

In this blog, we'll talk about massage therapy for AS patients. We examine if massage is safe and advantageous for these people and investigate the most effective massage methods for AS.

Why does ankylosing spondylitis hurt?

You could experience pain in your muscles and joint discomfort brought on by inflammation. You cannot adjust how you move, stand, sit, and lie down if you have joint discomfort and stiffness. Muscles that aren't meant to work are put under additional pressure when you start employing postures that aren't natural for your body. This can lead to tired and aching muscles from overuse.

Types of massage for AS

There are several types of massage treatment available if you try it for the pain or stiffness associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Here are a handful you might want to give a shot;

Swedish massage 

The most well-liked kind of massage might be beneficial for those with AS. It involves lengthy strokes, circling motions, and kneading to relax tense muscles. Pressure can be very mild and deep, depending on the client's preferences.


The therapist uses pressure on particular body parts to encourage energy flow and reduce tension during this type of massage. The therapist may gently stretch your limbs. Shiatsu practitioners assert that it aids in balancing the movement of qi, which traditional Chinese medicine views as the vital energy found in all living things.

Deep tissue massage

Intense pressure is frequently needed during this type of massage since it concentrates on working on the surface and deeper levels of muscles and other tissues. Deep tissue massage may leave some individuals painful for some time, even though it is intended to relieve extreme stress and discomfort.

Myofascial massage

In a myofascial release, the connective tissues surrounding the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels are moved by the therapist. Following a flare-up in their symptoms, one can discover that this approach helps improve circulation in troubled areas.

Hot stone massage

A hot stone massage employs strokes with heated stones to make a person feel less pain. If heating pads efficiently reduce pain, the practice may offer peaceful comfort.


If you choose this type of massage, the therapist may knead or roll your skin while gently lifting it. Your muscles may be able to relax a little due to lengthening the tissues that link to them.

Lymphatic massage

This type of massage, called lymphatic drainage or detox massage, involves mild, structured strokes to encourage the outflow of extra lymphatic fluid into the circulation.

Customized massage

Another choice is to inquire about a personalized massage. You can ask your therapist for a massage tailored specifically for your aches and pains even though many day spas and massage studios feature menus of massage options. Inform your therapist of your symptoms and let them know you're interested in a massage that will assist reduce inflammation experienced with ankylosing spondylitis.

Common benefits of getting regular massage therapy for AS patients

For stiffness and soreness in the muscles, massage treatment works wonders. Varied massage styles will affect different people differently, but most people appear to find that soft tissue massages are the most effective for symptom relief and stress reduction. Your therapist may even use particular oils to treat the irritation. Heat therapy can help ease pain and loosen tense muscles. During a flare-up, using ice helps lessen inflammation.

The advantages of massage vary from person to person and, for the same individual, even over time. After therapy, some people have less pain, less tension, and greater mobility. Others might require many messages before they start to see a change. Additionally, it could be influenced by how long you've had AS and how far it has advanced.

What not to do when you have AS

Some AS patients find it difficult to handle massages; even the lightest touch can be uncomfortable. Others claim that getting a massage makes their AS symptoms worse. Pay close attention to your body and monitor side effects if you attempt massage treatment. 

Inappropriate massage techniques may occasionally even cause an AS disease flare-up. You must let your massage therapist know about your illness and let them know if any of their treatments are making it worse.

In addition, vigorous massage or manipulation of the back or neck should be avoided in people with reduced spinal mobility due to AS. The side effects of these therapies, such as increasing weakening or sensory abnormalities, might result in spinal fractures and unexpected neurological problems.

Avoid deep tissue massage if possible, especially if your symptoms worsen. For some with AS, this more vigorous style of massage can be quite uncomfortable.

How to find the best massage therapist for AS?

A person should contact their doctor for suggestions when choosing a massage therapist. They could be familiar with therapists who focus ing patients with AS. Avoid unlicensed massage therapists, and be cautious of those with little expertise in treating persons with AS. Check out Vista Physiotherapy in Calgary and connect with the expert massage therapis for ankylosing spondylitis.


People with ankylosing spondylitis could benefit from certain massage techniques. Massage therapy should be considered a potential addition to more conventional treatments for this illness. However, painful or too harsh therapies must be avoided because they could have negative side effects.