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There is a wealth of evidence that MDT working delivers significant improvements in patient safety, the patient experience, overall team productivity and the working lives of the clinicians involved. recent service review of an MDT clinical pathway for inflammatory back pain patients has been described as "an excellent clinic which can address real time issues with real time advice".

February 2018, the NICE Quality Standard for Spondyloarthritis is now out for consultation, until Friday 23 February 2018 at 5pm.


AStretch welcome the recommendation within the NICE guidance that people with Axial Spondyloarthritis should be referred to a specialist physiotherapist for structured individualised exercise.
NICE Guidance on Spondyloarthritis now published for more information visit our Collections page

November 2017, This month Novartis have released data regarding Cosentyx,(secukinumab) the only IL-17A inhibitor approved for AS. "For the first time for any biologic, data show almost 80 percent of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients on Cosentyx® have no radiographic progression of the spine at 4 years These new data also confirm sustained improvement in signs and symptoms in almost 80 percent of patients, with a favorable and consistent safety profile": Link

Attitudes to and Provision of Hydrotherapy in Axial Spondyloarthritis/Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) – A service provider and service user perspective

We need your help!

As you are aware hydrotherapy is recommended in best practice guidelines as an adjunctive therapy to manage pain and maintain or improve function for people with AS (NICE, 2017). However there exists significant variability in access, provision and mode of delivery of hydrotherapy services for AS across the UK and the reasons for such variability are poorly understood.

A worrying trend of NHS hydrotherapy pool closures has led to this vital piece of research to raise awareness of hydrotherapy services for AS and empower physiotherapists to develop their own aquatic services for spondyloarthritis to widen participation, in line with NICE recommendations.

AStretch are undertaking a National Survey in partnership with the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society ( and funded by the NASS research fund. The aim of the survey is to map the hydrotherapy resources across the UK to assist those affectected by spondyloarthris to find local aquatic services

The worrying trend of pool closures was raised at the AStretch conference in December 2016. Melanie Martin, the project lead recommends  ‘use it or lose it’ by developing specialist aquatic services for spondyloarthritis.  Melanie says:  ‘This National Survey is an important piece of work which will hopefully empower physiotherapists to develop their own aquatic services for spondyloarthritis to widen participation, in line with NICE recommendations’.  

If you wish to be involved, please contact Melanie Martin at .

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) and secukinumab (Cosentyx) as treatment options for active psoriatic arthritis not adequately responding to DMARDs.

Certolizumab pegol and secukinumab for treating active psoriatic arthritis after inadequate response to DMARDs. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. 2017 May 24.

NASS Members' Day June 17th 2017: We were greeted with an open friendly atmosphere at this meeting in Sheffield, the delegates eager to learn and share views.

AStretch were represented by Claire Harris and Sue Gurden who took part in one to one interviews with members. Together with Clare Clark, Sue also led the afternoon session which covered all aspects of flare symptoms and management. The Audience were engaged and very forthcoming during the interactive discussions and also experienced a relaxing mindfulness session led by Clare. For more information of the day and access to the photo gallery visit:

Melanie Martin reports from Rheumatology 2017:

Day 1 of BSR 2017 presented a focus on Spondyloarthritis, with a series of presentations on new pharmacological opportunities with IL17/23 pathways, the role of imaging in diagnosing Axial SpA and an update from BritSpA on research projects underway, including dose-tapering. The highlight for me was joining this years Spondyloarthritis poster tour. The importance of smoking cessation was really highlighted and emphasises the importance on physiotherapists to promote healthy lifestyle

For your nearest NASS group follow the link

About us

AStretch is a not for profit organisation; our main aim is to provide a co-ordinated approach to the planning and delivery of education and best practice. Also to support physiotherapists working with people who have Axial Spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).


Email us on for general enquiries to submit features for peer review and consideration for website inclusion for enquiries related to our courses or conference.

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