Many people with spondylitis find therapeutic massage very helpful, and if done carefully, it can be a beneficial tool for pain relief and stress reduction. If a massage therapist is aware of a person's spondylitis and understands the disease and any potential manipulation issues, gentle massage can help promote well being. It may provide temporary relief of pain or stiffness, and in some cases improve flexibility because of the increased blood circulation.
"In all my years of experience as a physical therapist, I have never known massage to worsen the symptoms of inflammation in a patient with AS. Deep tissue mobilization is nearly always welcomed by those with AS and is usually given in combination with passive stretches and ultrasound, heat or ice," says Mary Rosenberg, Physical Therapist, Los Angeles, CA.
Yet some people with spondylitis cannot tolerate the procedure due to increased pain as a result of the massage. Others attribute massage as a trigger for disease flare-ups.
Check with your health insurance on whether they cover massage treatment in your plan, and if so, ask how often you can get the massages.