Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine, causing pain and stiffness in the lower back, hips, and buttocks, and may lead to spinal fusion.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition that can feel like a relentless enemy. It's an unseen foe, burrowing into your daily life, impacting your mobility and wellbeing, and often leaving a trail of frustration and fatigue in its wake. This is precisely why Painless exists: to stand with you in your confrontation with pain, to arm you with knowledge, and to deliver expertly tailored treatment plans that could offer you relief and a renewed sense of hope.

Our empathetic and highly skilled team knows that your pain is as unique as your fingerprint. We approach every patient with deep respect, recognising the strength it takes to face chronic pain each day. We do not see you as mere recipients of care, but as active partners in your healing journey. We believe in your ability to reclaim control over your life from the clutches of Ankylosing Spondylitis, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.


The basics

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a condition that causes inflammation and stiffness in the spine and sacroiliac joints, leading to pain and reduced mobility. Other joints and organs may also be affected. While the condition varies in severity, it can significantly impact a person's quality of life. While there is no cure, early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition. Treatment options may include medication and physical therapy, and a multidisciplinary approach involving a team of healthcare professionals can help improve overall well-being.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis can present with a wide range of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, which may be worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity
  • Loss of mobility and flexibility in the spine and other joints
  • Fatigue and general malaise
  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in other joints such as the shoulders, knees, and ankles
  • Eye inflammation, which can cause redness, pain, and sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty taking deep breaths due to inflammation in the chest
  • Digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

Symptoms may develop gradually, and may initially be mistaken for other conditions such as muscular strain or arthritis. It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing persistent symptoms, particularly if you have a family history of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

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Therapies & treatments

Pain Medicine

Our pain specialists provide a range of evidence-based interventions to help manage pain associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis, including:

  • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), analgesics, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • Injections such as corticosteroids and nerve blocks
  • Physical therapy including exercises, stretches and manual therapy
  • Mind-body techniques such as biofeedback, meditation and relaxation training

Psychological Therapy

Our team of psychologists offer a range of therapies to address the emotional and psychological impact of Ankylosing Spondylitis, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help improve coping skills and develop effective strategies for managing chronic pain
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help individuals develop greater psychological flexibility and resilience
  • Mindfulness-based interventions to help reduce stress and improve overall well-being

Nutritional Therapy

Our nutritionists provide tailored dietary recommendations to help reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and support overall well-being. This may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory diets such as the Mediterranean diet or the Low FODMAP diet
  • Nutrient-rich foods such as leafy greens, oily fish, and nuts
  • Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D

Occupational Therapy

Our occupational therapist works with individuals to help them regain independence and improve their quality of life. This may include:

  • Workstation assessments to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic working environment
  • Assistive devices such as mobility aids, braces, and splints
  • Training in activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, and cooking

Orofacial Pain Therapy

Our Orofacial Pain Therapist offers treatments for pain and dysfunction in the jaw, face, and head, which can be common in individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis. This may include:

  • Manual therapy to release tight muscles and improve jaw mobility
  • Education on self-care techniques such as jaw exercises and relaxation techniques
  • Splint therapy to correct bite alignment and reduce pain and inflammation.
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Self-care strategies

Regular exercise

Regular exercise can help manage pain, maintain flexibility and strength, and improve overall physical and mental health. Exercises such as swimming, yoga, and Pilates are particularly beneficial for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Posture correction

Poor posture can worsen Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms. Practicing good posture can help reduce pain and prevent further spinal damage. Sitting up straight, standing tall, and avoiding slouching are all important.

Hot and cold therapy

Applying heat or cold to affected areas can help alleviate pain and stiffness. Hot showers or baths, heating pads, or warm compresses can help relax stiff joints and muscles, while ice packs can help reduce inflammation and numb pain.

Stress management

Stress can worsen Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms. Finding ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or talking with a therapist can help reduce symptoms.

Rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation are important for managing Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms. Getting enough sleep and taking time to rest during the day can help reduce fatigue and pain.

Balanced diet

Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Avoiding processed foods and increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can be particularly helpful.

Good posture support

Using supportive devices such as orthotic shoes, lumbar supports, and neck braces can help relieve pressure on the spine and reduce pain.

Avoiding overuse of joints

Overuse of joints can lead to increased inflammation and pain. Avoiding repetitive activities and taking frequent breaks can help reduce the risk of flare-ups.

Use of assistive devices

Assistive devices such as reachers, grabbers, and canes can help people with Ankylosing Spondylitis perform daily tasks with less pain and fatigue.


Educating oneself about Ankylosing Spondylitis can help better understand the condition and how to manage it. Joining support groups or online communities can also provide helpful tips and emotional support.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis

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