Health & Wellness

Neck Spondylitis Exercise: How Ankylosing Spondylitis Neck Exercises Can Help

Neck Spondylitis Exercise: How Ankylosing Spondylitis Neck Exercises Can Help

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, leading to severe pain and stiffness in the neck and back. 

Living with this condition means facing constant discomfort, which can disrupt sleep, work, and simple daily activities. But there's hope - and it doesn’t have to involve scary, costly surgical procedures.

We’re here to offer solace and practical solutions for those suffering from AS. Through our neck spondylitis exercise regimen, alleviating pain and reclaiming freedom of movement is well within reach.

We'll explore ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises that can serve as a cornerstone for managing symptoms, and introduce Iron Neck, a neck machine designed to strengthen and rehabilitate your neck at home, providing the relief you've been seeking.

Overview of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the axial skeleton, including the spine and sacroiliac joints. 

Over time, the inflammation can lead to the fusion of vertebrae, resulting in a rigid spine, a condition sometimes referred to as “bamboo spine”. This progressive stiffening is not only painful but also limits mobility and can significantly impact a person's quality of life.

The hallmark symptom of AS is persistent lower back pain that typically worsens with rest and improves with exercise. This pain often spreads upwards, reaching the neck and causing significant discomfort. 

Other symptoms may include fatigue, inflammation of the eyes (uveitis), and in more advanced cases, heart and lung complications. 

Diagnosis is typically made through a combination of patient history, physical examination, blood tests for inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and imaging studies like X-rays and MRI to detect changes in the joints and bones.

In AS, neck pain arises as the inflammation progresses from the lower spine upwards. The cervical vertebrae may become stiff and immobile, leading to a loss of neck flexibility. This can make everyday tasks like driving or looking over one's shoulder exceedingly difficult and painful. 

Additionally, the chronic pain can lead to muscle weakness and compensatory postures, further exacerbating discomfort and diminishing the individual's ability to perform daily activities. So, how can neck exercises for strength help?

Can Ankylosing Spondylitis Neck Exercises Help? 

We recently wrote about the benefits of exercises for neck arthritis - those same benefits apply to AS specifically! So, how can ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises help, exactly? Let’s take a look.

Understanding the Benefits of Neck Exercises for AS Patients

Engaging in specific neck exercises can help AS patients maintain better posture, improve flexibility, and reduce the stiffness that leads to pain. 

Regular movement prevents the joints from becoming immobile and can slow the progression of spinal fusion. Moreover, strengthening the muscles around the spine and neck provides better support to the affected areas, potentially easing the burden on the joints and alleviating discomfort.

Furthermore, these exercises can enhance blood flow to the region, which may aid in reducing inflammation and promoting healing. The benefits of neck training are impossible to ignore - and with the Iron Neck, it gets even better. You can find relief all while performing neck workouts at home!

Why the Iron Neck is the Best Choice for Performing Neck Spondylitis Exercise

The Iron Neck offers a comprehensive solution for AS patients looking to perform neck spondylitis exercise. Its design allows for a full range of motion exercises, which is crucial for maintaining neck flexibility. 

The resistance provided by the Iron Neck can be adjusted to suit individual needs, ensuring that patients can start gently and gradually increase the intensity as their strength improves. This personalized approach makes the Iron Neck an ideal tool for both mitigating pain and preventing further stiffness in the cervical spine. 

Its ease of use at home also ensures that patients can consistently incorporate neck exercises into their daily routine, which is key for managing AS symptoms effectively.

The Iron Neck is trusted in physical therapy centers around the world, and it’s used by people just like you from the comfort of their own homes as well. 

We encourage you to learn more about why it’s the best neck exercise equipment and how it compares to the typical neck weight harness in our blog. At this point, though, we want to get into the best ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises below so you can start today.

The Best Neck Spondylitis Exercise Regimen

Part of what makes the Iron Neck such a profound investment in your neck health is the sheer number of possibilities it has to offer. You can perform neck fat exercises, neck mobility exercises, or even learn how to build neck strength.

But when it comes to the best neck spondylitis exercise regimen, you should round out your routine with a balance of these three types of exercises: stretching, strengthening, and aerobics.

Stretching Exercises for Flexibility and Pain Relief

Stretching is vital for maintaining and improving range of motion in the neck, which can become limited due to AS. Regular stretching can also alleviate pain by relieving tension in the muscles surrounding the spine. Try these two movements:

  • Neck Extension and Flexion: Sit or stand with a straight spine. Gently tilt your head back to look at the ceiling, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly bring your chin to your chest. Repeat 10 times.
  • Lateral Neck Stretch: Keep your shoulders still and tilt your head to one side, aiming to touch your ear to your shoulder without lifting the shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

On another note, we have a list of pinched nerve in neck stretches if you’d like to learn more. But, let’s get into some of the real fun - our favorite ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises!

Strengthening Exercises to Support Neck Muscles

Learning how to build neck muscles at home is important to support the neck better, which can help stabilize the cervical spine and potentially reduce the load on inflamed joints, leading to pain reduction. Here are some specific exercises using the Iron Neck that can be beneficial:

  • Frontal Plane Neck Isometrics: With the Iron Neck fitted, face away from the anchor point. Keep your body straight and resist the pull of the band by engaging your neck muscles without moving your head. Hold for 10 seconds, rest, and repeat.
  • Sagittal Plane Neck Isometrics: You can also perform neck isometric exercises from a different plane to balance out your training regimen. Face the anchor point, maintaining a straight posture. Push your forehead into the Iron Neck's pad, resisting the backward pull. Hold for 10 seconds, rest, and repeat.
  • Horizontal Plane Rotation: Stand with the Iron Neck on and the body perpendicular to the anchor. Rotate your head from side to side, keeping the resistance level manageable. This exercise improves rotational strength and flexibility.
  • Neck Protraction and Retraction: Face away from the anchor point, extend your neck forward against the resistance, and then retract back, bringing your chin towards your neck. This exercise targets the deep flexor and extensor muscles.

You can learn more about how to train neck in our blog. We have lists of other great exercises to consider like turkey neck exercises, neck exercise for vertigo, neck exercise for thyroid, neck spasm exercises, or neck exercises for tinnitus.

Aerobic Exercises for Overall Health

Aerobic exercise is recommended for its cardiovascular benefits and its role in overall inflammation reduction, which is a key concern in AS. It also contributes to weight management, which can decrease stress on the joints.

This doesn’t have to be anything crazy or intimidating. Brisk walking is accessible, easy to modulate intensity, and less likely to jar the neck than higher-impact activities.

Another great option if you have access to a pool is swimming. The water supports the body, allowing for aerobic conditioning with minimal impact on the spine and neck, while also providing resistance to maintain muscle strength.

Tips on Forming a Neck Exercise for Ankylosing Spondylitis Routine

Knowing the best neck spondylitis exercise is one thing - but now, you need to integrate these movements into a consistent routine. Here is some advice to help you feel confident in your next steps:

  • Establish a Routine: You should begin with a simple routine, like performing a few of these movements 3 times a week. The specific rep range and sets you perform are up to you - but for neck spondylitis, we recommend 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps each.
  • Consistency is key. Set aside a specific time each day for your neck exercises. This could be in the morning to reduce stiffness or in the evening to alleviate the day's tension. Like we said before, try and get 3 training sessions in a week.
  • Start Slowly: Begin with gentle stretches and low-resistance exercises. You should master the technique for ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises before adding any sort of load to them. As your neck muscles adapt, gradually increase both the intensity and frequency of your workouts as you see fit.
  • Monitor Your Pain: Pay attention to your body's signals. If an exercise causes pain, stop and adjust. Pain is an indicator that you may need to modify the exercise or reduce the resistance. Learn more about managing neck pain after workouts in our blog.

Follow these tips and you’ll be amazed at the neck training before and after results you see. That being said, we want to offer a few more tips on finding relief beyond performing ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises.

More Advice on Managing Ankylosing Spondylitis

Living with AS involves a multifaceted approach to maintaining your health and managing symptoms. Beyond neck exercise for ankylosing spondylitis, there are several areas where you can take control and positively impact your condition.

The Impact of Posture on Neck Health 

Proper posture plays a critical role in managing AS. Poor posture can exacerbate neck pain and stiffness, while good posture can help maintain spinal alignment and reduce stress on the neck joints.

Fortunately, we’re the experts in how to fix neck posture. We have resources covering the top tech neck exercises and insights into how long it takes to correct forward head posture. Here is some general advice:

  • Mindful Alignment: Regularly check in with your posture throughout the day. Align your ears over your shoulders and keep your shoulders back and down.
  • Ergonomic Workspaces: Set up your desk, chair, and computer to support a neutral spine position. Your monitor should be at eye level, and your knees at hip height.
  • Posture-Friendly Accessories: Consider using ergonomic pillows or supports when sitting for long periods to encourage proper neck alignment.

Pain Management Techniques Beyond Exercise

While exercise is beneficial, it's not the only way to manage AS pain. Applying heat can relax tight muscles and alleviate pain. Use a warm towel or a heating pad on your neck for short periods.

Conversely, cold packs can reduce swelling and numb pain for acute inflammation. Don't apply ice directly to the skin, though - be sure to use a protective layer.

Remember that stress can trigger flare-ups. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help manage stress levels. We have more advice on how to relieve tension in neck and shoulders from anxiety in our blog.

Nutritional Considerations 

Diet can influence inflammation, so incorporate anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. These include fatty fish, nuts, leafy greens, and berries.

Similarly, you should limit your intake of processed foods, sugars, and saturated fats that can increase inflammation. This will yield benefits in your life as a whole beyond managing AS.

Of course, hydration must be prioritized as well. Drinking water helps to keep the joints lubricated and can reduce stiffness.

Professional Treatment Options

While these ankylosing spondylitis neck exercises and the other advice we’ve shared will prove invaluable in your treatment regimen, a professional’s advice is irreplaceable. 

A physical therapist can provide specialized exercises and stretches and guide on proper posture and movement. They can help you progress the neck spondylitis exercise routine we’ve shared to make the most of it.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly prescribed for pain relief. In more severe cases, biologics or other advanced medications may be recommended.

Regular check-ups with a rheumatologist can ensure that your treatment plan is effective and adjust as needed. So, when in doubt, reach out to a professional near you! 

Bringing Our Neck Spondylitis Exercise Guide to a Close

In managing AS, the integration of targeted neck spondylitis exercises, maintaining proper posture, utilizing pain management techniques, and following nutritional guidelines are all vital. 

These strategies collectively support neck health, reduce pain, and enhance overall well-being. Remember, consistency in your routine and a proactive approach to lifestyle adjustments can make a significant difference in your quality of life.

Our blog has more resources on neck training like how to tighten neck skin, how to get a thicker neck, side of neck muscles, and some of our favorite exercises like the neck bridge, neck curl, chin tuck, or Bruegger's exercise.

Explore the Iron Neck today and discover how our equipment can support your journey toward a stronger, healthier neck. Take the next step in managing your Ankylosing Spondylitis with confidence and control!