Cryo and Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. This painful and debilitating condition is chronic and often affect young people as early as in their 20's. It typically occurs in the joints in the spine resulting in stiffness and pain affecting an individuals ability to complete even the simple things in life life going for a walk along the beach. It can also affect other organs like your eyes, heart, skin, or intestines. For sufferers of the condition, the idea of a reduction in pain, stiffness and increase in ability to get back to life as they knew it is heaven. Could cryotherapy be the missing link? Here is what the research says about cryotherapy and ankylosing spondylitis.
What Does The Research Say About Cryotherapy for AS?
Cryotherapy to decrease pain and increase range of motion
According to research Whole Body Cryotherapy provides a range of benefits including decreased pain, increase range of motion, increased participation in daily activity and cardiovascular benefits to assist in reduction of heart attack.
There has been multiple studies looking at the how cryotherapy may assist people with AS to increase their range of motion. A recent study which looked at 32 participants with AS found that using whole body cryotherapy produces significant improvements in spinal mobility when compared to patients in who used kinesitherapy alone.
Another study by the BioMed Research International found that following Cryotherapy and kinesiotherapy, AS patients were found to improve their activity score by approximately 40%. This was compared with the group who had only kinesiotherapy and experienced a decrease of only about 15%. There has also been evidence that cryotherapy decreased morning stiffness, abnormal fatigue, joint pain and discomfort.
Cryotherapy to reduce inflammatory markers
People who suffer from AS have high levels of inflammation in their body. Inflammation has been termed the 'silent killer' by some due to its role in numerous chronic and complex health conditions. The use of cryotherapy has also been shown to decrease inflammatory markers in the blood. Whole-body cryotherapy at a temperature of -120°C lasting 2 minutes with subsequent kinesitherapy was completed and serum C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, mucoprotein, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 levels were measured. Those who were randomised to the cryotherapy treatment experienced a reduction in their inflammatory markers.
Cryotherapy to reduce cardiovasuclar risk factors
Whole body cryotherapy also provides cardiovascular benefits. A study from Mediators of Inflammation in 2018 concludes that cryotherapy appears to be a useful method of atherosclerosis prevention in Ankylosing Spondylosis patients which plays a critical role in managing the risk for heart disease including heart attack. This study was looking at people who had AS and no other cardiovascular risk factors.
AS is a painful and debilitating condition which affects many young and otherwise health people. There is however some promising evidence that cryotherapy in combination with your physio program will help decrease pain, increase range of motion, decrease inflammation, stiffness and cardiovasular disease risk factors.