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Massage for AS


The cause for AS is unknown, however, research indicates that genetics and environment are likely the culprits. Scientists have discovered that there are at least three genes that increase the risk of developing AS; H2A-B27, IL23R, and ERAP1. Having these three genes does not immediately equate to the progression of AS, only that there is an increased risk.

AS is almost as common as rheumatoid arthritis and it is estimated that 0.35-1.3% of the population is affected. Men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with AS than women. The typical age range for AS is between 15 years of age and 30 with the rare reports of individuals over 40.

AS has symptoms that affect different parts of the body. The doctors who can help treat such symptoms are:

  • Physical Therapist: provides stretching and exercise regimens

  • Gastroenterologist: treats bowel disease

  • Physiatrist: physical medicine and rehabilitation

  • Ophthalmologist: treats eye disease.

There are definite pros and cons to incorporating massage with the treatment of AS. Deep tissue massage should be avoided during a flare-up of symptoms and please keep in mind that massage can also CAUSE flare-ups.


-decrease pain

-decrease stress

-decrease stiffness

-increase ROM


-massage can worsen AS symptoms

-some areas (especially during a flare-up) can be more painful and uncomfortable, can become aggravated/worsen with massage

Some techniques massage therapists can use during sessions with AS individuals:

Techniques that can be used:


-Mild sacral rocking



-Long-gliding strokes

Moist heat can be used to relieve muscle spasms and when inflammation is stirred up, ice can be applied.

If you are wanting to treat your AS symptoms, Northwest Wellness has massage therapists and physical therapist who can help you. Call our office to schedule your appointments 253-927-0660.