Behaviour change interventions in ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease that primarily affects the axial skeleton (e.g., vertebrae). Clinically, it is characterised by inflammatory back pain and stiffness, with decreased spinal mobility, fatigue and limitations in physical function. People with AS tend to have lower fitness and quality of life. Exercise is helpful, but many people with AS undertake very little physical activity. The promotion of physical activity to people with AS is a key challenge faced by physiotherapists.
A recent trial has investigated whether physical activity can be promoted in these patients. Over a 3-month period, the experimental group engaged in individually tailored, semi-structured consultations aiming to motivate and support their participantion in physical activity. The control group continued with usual care.
Substantial benefits were observed. Those in the experimental group were almost 5 times more likely to undertake physical activity that was vigorous enough and prolonged enough to induce health benefits. They also reported significantly improved spinal mobility and quality of life. Importantly, the benefits were maintained 3 months later.
Want to read deeper into this topic? Have a look at the free full text version of this article published in Journal of Physiotherapy!
> From: O'Dwyer et al., J Physiother 63 (2017) 30-39. All rights reserved to the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.