This is a rheumatoid condition that pushes your upper back towards an extreme hunch. As a device and home program primarily designed to counter the problems from hunching, the Backpod is a perfect fit with the condition. This also applies to anyone with radiographic and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis, of which ankylosing spondylitis is the biggest sub-group.
Rheumatology doctors will treat the inflammatory aspects of ankylosing spondylitis but the Backpod treats the musculoskeletal consequences. Just hunching by itself causes enormous problems, without any ankylosing spondylitis involvement. The biggest upper spinal problem in the computer-savvy world is called the iHunch – the hunched upper back driving neck pain and headache, usually from bending over laptops, tablets and smartphones. Very few of these people have ankylosing spondylitis – but they’re still sore.
So most upper back, neck and headache pain with this condition is just from the hunching itself – which is exactly what we developed the Backpod and its home program for.
Naturally we cannot straighten out an extreme, fused, decades-old hunch but the Backpod is the most practical and effective ongoing home package to slow or even halt that progression. Even a patient with an extreme, fused hunch should get some relief from the massage, stretching and strengthening exercises that are part of the Backpod’s program. For joints that aren’t that tight, the Backpod gives an accurate, sustained stretch graded from mild to very strong – and you usually need that strength with ankylosing spondylitis.
Breathing difficulties and Costochondritis and Tietze’s Syndrome chest pain also happen with ankylosing spondylitis, as the rib joints round the back stiffen along with the hunching spine. The stiffening rib joints mean you can’t take a full breath in. Costochondritis and Tietze’s pain on your breastbone can happen as the rib joints strain to compensate for the restricted rib movement around the back. As far as we can tell, the Backpod is the only device around that does an effective stretch of tight posterior rib joints.
The other characteristic musculoskeletal problem with ankylosing spondylitis is a slow tightening and eventual fusing of the sacroiliac joints, where the sacrum glides inside the rest of the pelvis. Lying back on the Backpod with it positioned under the sacrum gives a firm steady stretch to these joints, to slow and possibly halt the progression into immobility. This is shown and explained in our YouTube video ‘How to mobilise a tight sacroiliac joint with the Backpod’.
Overall, we think the Backpod is the best ongoing tool you can have for ankylosing spondylitis. This isn’t hype or a magic wand, but a carefully designed and constructed fulcrum with enough leverage for you to stretch and give relief to the specific joints that your ankylosing spondylitis is attempting to freeze up. We can’t treat the inflammation itself but this is probably your best practical way of keeping yourself as well as your condition will allow.