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SPondylaritis Condition

Project Manager
Post doc


Spondyloarthritis (formerly called Ankylosing spondylitis) is an inflammatory joint disease that affects the pelvic joints and spine. The disease can cause reduced mobility and pain, it debuts before the age of 45 and affects approx. 1% of the population. Exercise is a cornerstone in the treatment of spondyloarthritis and is always part of the treatment regardless of whether there is also a need for drug treatment. The drug treatment can consist of mild anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibux, Naproxen) if needed or potent immunosuppressive drugs in the form of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (e.g. Erelzi, Hyrimoz) as permanent treatment.

Patients with spondyloarthritis and rheumatologists need a safe evaluation of the exercise effect before the decision on potent immunosuppressive drugs is made. With the SPARK training application, we will offer evidence-based training with progression to patients with spondyloarthritis. The evaluation will consist of the need for drug treatment in the form of potent immunosuppressive drugs.


Adult patients with newly diagnosed spondyloarthritis without iridocyclitis or other obvious reasons for choosing TNFi as first-line treatment or patients where vigorous exercise is contraindicated (eg uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, amputations). Inclusion is assessed by a rheumatologist.

Inclusion starts according to plan in January 2024.


Patients who wish to participate in the study are divided into two groups by drawing lots (randomization).

  1. The intervention group is assigned the exercise application SPARK for smartphones or tablets. The intervention group will receive an introduction to the application, training in general and different types of training, they will carry out training 3 days per week and will receive ongoing follow-up by study staff to ensure a progression in the training. Training will be logged via smart watch or by self-registration directly in the application.
  2. The control group will receive advice on exercise from the rheumatologist.

In both groups, blood samples will be taken, body composition will be measured and participants will answer a questionnaire.

After 3 months, the main outcome measure is evaluated, which is whether training has contributed to less use of potent immunosuppressant drugs or not. A new lottery is then held where all participants get access to training via the SPARK application, but one group receives continuous follow-up and the other follows the training via SPARK on their own. The secondary outcome measure, again in the form of the use of potent immunosuppressive drugs, is assessed after a further 3 months. The study runs for a total of 6 months.