There is a role for rest in this condition, as it is often advantageous to take the weight off your spine by getting horizontal for 10-15 minutes. For some, a period off work and in a rheumatology unit might be necessary. Even then, this does not mean resting immobile, for this might hasten the stiffening process of the spine. You should do exercises for your back, chest and limb joints.
This is lying face downwards and can be done at the start and end of each day for twenty minutes, if possible. Those people who have had the condition for some years at first might not be able to tolerate this for more than five minutes at a time and will have to build up with practice until the spine becomes more relaxed. Some people who might have lost a little posture will find it more comfortable to put a pillow under their chest. This is not only good for the spine, as it counteracts the forward stooping posture, but it also keeps the hip joints straight. Lying on your bed on your back with your legs dangling towards the floor can also be a good stretching exercise.
Should be firm without sag. If your bed has an interior sprung mattress, get a suitable board and put it between the mattress and the bed. A sheet of plywood or chipboard 70x150x1cm is ideal. This is important to maintain posture. Mattresses should be inspected more regularly with posture in mind. Take care not to purchase a mattress which is too hard. There are a great number of manufacturers purporting to have some unspecified medical expertise who are promoting very expensive mattresses. Their products might be very good but often unnecessarily expensive, so shop around and perhaps change your mattress more often. Some hotel mattresses are too soft. It may help to drag the mattress onto the floor in such places. However, this is an area which has improved greatly in the last few years, as the nation has become more conscious and the myth of a soft bed indicating greater luxury has been abolished. You should try and reduce the number of pillows to one, or even none. If you lie on your back with a high pillow you could gradually lose a good posture in your neck and shoulders.
Since untreated AS causes increasing flexion of the spine, every endeavour must be directed towards keeping an erect posture. It is not common for the spine to stiffen completely, but in case this might happen one should always be aware to do as much as possible to maintain a straight spine. One's chair in the office or home has an important role to play. We know that many NASS members have chosen a chair of their own. Its profile is fairly high, has a firmseat and an upright, firm back, preferably extending to the head: arms are also helpful in relieving weight from the spine. The seat should not be too long, as the person will have difficulty in placing his lower spine into the back of the chair. It should be of a height which will allow the sitter to keep a right angle with the knee and hip joints. Low, soft chairs and sofas are a disaster area. They will encourage bad posture and increase pain.