Home-based exercise therapy in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: effects on pain, mobility, disease activity, quality of life, and respiratory functions

Clin Rheumatol. 2012 Jan;31(1):91-7. doi: 10.1007/s10067-011-1791-5. Epub 2011 Jun 10.


The home-based exercise therapy recommended to the patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a simply applicable and cheap method. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of home-based exercise therapy on pain, mobility, function, disease activity, quality of life, and respiratory functions in patients with AS. Eighty patients diagnosed with AS according to the modified New York criteria were included in the study. Home-based exercise program including range of motion, stretching, strengthening, posture, and respiratory exercises was practically demonstrated by a physiotherapist. A training and exercise manual booklet was given to all patients. Patients following home-based exercise program five times a week at least 30 min per session (exercise group) for 3 months were compared with those exercising less than five times a week (control group). Visual analog scale pain (VASp) values at baseline were significantly higher in the exercise group. The exercise group showed improvements in VASp, tragus-wall distance, morning stiffness, finger-floor distance, modified Schober's test, chest expansion, the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index, the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index, Ankylosing Spondylitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (ASQoL), forced expiratory volume in first second, and forced vital capacity at third month. There was significant difference in ASQoL scores between the two groups in favor of the exercise group at third month. Regular home-based exercise therapy should be a part of main therapy in patients with AS. Physicians should recommend that patients with AS do exercise at least five times a week at least 30 min per session.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnosis
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome