Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition that primarily affects the spine, and usually manifests as pain in the pelvis, lower back, and buttocks. Patients may neglect or overlook AS symptoms as lifestyle-related back pain, leading to a delayed diagnosis of 7-10 years, which may cause disability in the long-term. Almost 1 in 100 people struggle with this debilitating disease, where the spine bones bind together to make the spine stiff, resulting in a perpetual stoop. Mainly affecting men in their working years, with an onset of around 14-20 years of age, patients frequently handle pain on their own through home remedies and over-the-counter medications. Many patients and their families are unaware that these symptoms require consulting with specialized physicians. Medication plays a significant role in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). AS is a life-long condition. There isn’t a cure at present. However certain treatments can reduce pain and stiffness. Yet the recovery strategy that your rheumatology doctor suggests should also provide daily measures to make your life easier—and, in some cases, keep your disease from worsening. Please use these tips to keep the condition under control.
1. See your Healthcare Provider Regularly
AS is a lifelong illness, which means you’ll have to deal with it for the remainder of your life. It’s important to visit your healthcare professional at the best rheumatology hospital at least once a year, even though you feel better. This way, you can diagnose and treat any developed complications early.
2. Get into Hot Water
You’ll definitely notice that the back pain hurts the worst when you first wake up. Stepping into a steamy tub or shower stall will ease aches and loosen up sore muscles and joints.
3. Do your Exercises
Some of the movements can seem difficult because of your stiffness. Yet getting your muscles and joints moving will help your symptoms in the long run, and can even impact the course of your illness. Ask the health care professional or physiotherapist at the best hospital for rheumatology to teach you which workouts are better for you. Your focus should be on moves that mobilize your chest and upper body and extend your back and neck.
4. Stay Active Overall
Physical exercise preserves mobility and keeps the heart and lungs strong. Try a straight stance activity and flex the upper body. Walking, cycling, swimming, cross-country skiing and tennis are all good alternatives. Those that require constantly flexing the spine, such as golf and long-distance cycling, can feel uncomfortable. Avoid activities that carry a risk of injuries, like downhill skiing, football or hockey.
5. Practice Proper Posture
Keep as upright as you can when you sit or stand to help ease the forward bend that sometimes happens as the disease progresses. To check your posture, stand horizontally in front of a full-length mirror. Imagine dropping a weighted rope from your head to your feet. Stand up so that it goes straight down—through your earlobe, your shoulder, the middle of your hip, your kneecap, and your ankle bone
6. Work Smarter
Jobs requiring stretching, twisting, or bending may be challenging for those with AS. Instead, pick a job where you can alternate standing, sitting and walking. If you’re sitting at a desk or on a tablet, make sure you take regular breaks during the day to do basic exercises and workout endurance. The inclined or angled table will assist with reading in the right position.
7. Sleep Well
Posture doesn’t just matter throughout the day. Make an attempt to change the body’s posture at night, too. Sleep on your back, lie as flat as you can. When you’re relaxed enough, sleep without a pillow under your head to prevent your neck from flexing forward.
8. Eat Properly
Speak to your health care professional about your diet. Ask which diet is going to make the pain better or worse. Many health care providers advocate reducing red meat to no more than two meals a week, as this can increase inflammation. Consume lots of calcium and vitamin D to reduce the chances of bone-thinning osteoporosis.
9. Drive Safe
A few easy measures can make driving a car safer and more relaxed. If you have minimal mobility in your spine, try adding wide-view side mirrors. A small pillow behind your back will alleviate discomfort. During a long drive, stop every hour or two to stretch. Do hold an emergency information card that will warn the medical staff of your situation. And make sure you’re still wearing a seat belt.
10. Avoid Falls
Falls pose a higher risk if you have AS due to your delicate backbone. Always wear supportive, skid-proof shoes to remain upright. Hold on to the handrails as you go up and down the steps. Try installing a shower stall instead of a bathtub and using a bath mat to avoid slipping across the bathroom floors.