Chiropractic Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis

What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is the fusion of the vertebrae in the spine due to an autoimmune inflammatory disease.  It more commonly affects men than women.  Fusion of the spinal bones is due to an increase in calcium production. Symptoms may first appear in early adulthood and include low back pain and stiffness. Some patients also report persistent neck and hip pain and difficulty breathing in severe cases. Although there are no known causes of this condition, experts suggest there is a genetic component, particularly in people with the gene HLA-B27.

Other complications of this condition include recurrent heart problems due to interference with the aorta, leading to inflammation, spinal compression fractures leading to a stooped posture, and inflammation of the eye. Seek medical treatment should these symptoms arise.

How Chiropractors Manage Ankylosing Spondylitis

The subject of chiropractic care in general can sometimes seem controversial let alone the idea that it be part of the care regime for someone with Ankylosing Spondylitis.  But, it is important to note cases where patients have benefited from chiropratic care as seen in this case –

Chiropractors focus on alignment and function of the spine and its relation to the nervous system. Chiropractors are suitable healthcare practitioners for the management of ankylosing spondylitis and are trained to provide a treatment regimen that won’t aggravate the condition which may include activator adjustments designed to help with mobility.   Regular chiropractic care can help patients manage symptoms and prevent disease progression, improving their quality of life.

The chiropractor will first of all review your general health and family medical history.  It is important for the chiropractor to know if any family member has had the condition.  A family history of Ankylosing Spondylitis may be indicative in diagnosing this condition but it is not necessary.  During the physical examination, you will be asked to move and bend in different ways so the chiropractor can see how flexible your spine is.  In early stages subtle changes can be significant.  In a later stage the mobility can be significantly reduced.  The chiropractor will also check your chest expansion which can be reduced in AS.  The chiropractor will also do a neurological examination.

When to Seek Chiropractic Management for Ankylosing Spondylitis

The goals of AS treatment are to reduce pain, improve your quality of life, and delay spinal damage. Since ankylosing spondylitis affects the spine and nervous system chiropractors make an important part of your healthcare team and care should be included as a complementary treatment.


Chiropractic care is an excellent complementary option to manage the symptoms associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Consult your medical team and discuss a recommendation for chiropractic care.



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