High intensity exercise for 3 months reduces disease activity in axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA)
Exercise is considered important in the treatment of patients with rheumatic diseases. However, the effect of high-intensity exercises on disease activity is unknown. Based on this, research is being conducted into the effectiveness of high intensity exercises on disease activity in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA).
The research method can be described as an assessor blinded multi-center randomized controlled trial. 100 patients (from 20 to 60 years old) with axSpA were randomly assigned to an exercise group or a control group without intervention. The exercise group performed high-intensity cardiorespiratory and muscular strength exercises for 3 months. The control group received standard care and was instructed to maintain their usual physical activity level. Primary outcome was disease activity measured with the Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Disease Activity Scale (ASDAS, higher score = worst) and the Bath AS Disease Activity Index (BASDAI, 0-10, 10 = worst). Secondary results were inflammatory markers, physical function and cardiovascular (CV) health. Patient involvement was involved in setting up and reporting this study.
Of the 100 randomized patients, 97 (97%) completed the measurements after the intervention. There was a significant treatment effect of the intervention on the primary outcome (ASDAS: −0.6 [–0.8 to –0.3], p <0.001 and BASDAI: −1.2 [–1.8 to –0.7], p <0.001). Significant treatment effects were also seen for inflammation, physical function and CV health.
Exercises with high intensity reduced disease symptoms (pain, fatigue, stiffness) and also inflammation in patients with axSpA. It improves the function of patients and the health of the CV. These debunks fear that high-intensity exercise could aggravate disease activity in patients with axSpA.