Jul 17 / Jamie Boder

Morning Movement for Ankylosing Spondylitis Stiffness

In this blog I share three things you can do to get moving in the morning with stiffness caused by Ankylosing Spondylitis.

This also applies to Axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA), Spondylitis, and any other form of Spondyloarthritis.

For more in depth information on morning stiffness as a symptom of AS/axSpA check out Geoff's blog post.

Although this is a brief blog it contains two very practical videos you can try for morning stiffness.


  1. Three quick practical tips for getting moving first thing with AS/axSpA.
  2. Try out a seated morning routine you can do to get moving.
  3. Try out a standing morning routine you can do to get moving.

Three quick practical tips for getting moving first thing with AS/axSpA

I am going to keep these next points short and sweet, with a few practical tips I have found helpful for myself and many others with AS/axSpA. There are plenty more but these these are good ones to start with. 

1. If your struggling to get out of bed, do some gentle stretches...in bed!

You can do a stretching routine in bed first thing in the morning if getting out of bed seems itself a challenge. That way by the time you get out of bed you are feeling less stiffness and more movement. For examples of movements you can do from bed, check out this routine I put together with NASS, click here to view.

stock image of man stretching in bed

2. Once you are out of bed, have a warm shower or bath

A very simple and seemingly obvious one, but a warm shower or bath first thing will most likely help with morning stiffness. Of course another way to warm the body up is with movement so a combination of the two (not at the same time!) will be a good strategy. 

3. Get moving... less static stretching more dynamic stretching

Getting moving first thing with lots of stiffness from Ankylosing Spondylitis/Axial Spondyloarthritis can seem daunting, and as Geoff pointed out in this blog, there is more to relieving morning stiffness than just getting moving. However, even setting aside 5 minutes first thing do do some gentle movement is going to help with morning stiffness. Any form of exercise to help to get you moving is a win! 

Based on my experience, I find that dynamic stretching is more effective in the morning. Let's break it down further.

Static stretching involves holding a stretch in a stationary position without movement. On the other hand, dynamic stretching involves active movements that engage muscles and joints throughout their entire range of motion. While static stretching is crucial for improving flexibility, in the morning, dynamic stretching tends to be more advantageous. It helps warm up the body more efficiently and doesn't require us to hold a stretch for a long time, which can be challenging when we are still feeling stiff after waking up.

Below are two examples of dynamic stretching routines specifically designed to alleviate morning stiffness:

This morning routine is practiced seated, you will need a chair

This morning routine is practiced standing, you will need a chair

If you would like to practice Yoga for AS, you can explore a Live Online Class or the Virtual Library.

Both of which you can try for free below.

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