What is Ankylosing Spondylitis and treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Why does my grandfather hunch forward while walking? It may be due to Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). Yes, it affects about 0.1% to 0.5% of the adult population. It is more surprising to know that Spondylitis strikes men in their early twenties. It is less common in women. It is really shocking that in severe cases Ankylosing Spondylitis can also affect the eyes, heart, lungs, and rarely your kidneys.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disease. It is a form of arthritis that mainly affects your spine. Your spinal joints are called vertebrae, in Ankylosing Spondylitis these joints gets inflamed which leads to discomfort, severe and chronic pain. In severe instances, there can be chances of formation of new bone that makes your spine fused up. You may get immobile or would present a forward-stopped position. This stopped position is referred as kyphosis in medical terms.

Can Ankylosing Spondylitis AS affect other parts of my body?

Yes, it does! Ankylosing spondylitis can also cause inflammation, stiffness, and pain in other parts of the body such as your shoulders, heels, ribs, hips and smaller joints of hands and foot. But very rarely your eyes may also be affected.

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis

The most common symptoms reported by the people with Ankylosing Spondylitis include:

  • Excessive coughing

  • Forwardly stooped position

  • Continuous lower back pain

  • Fatigue and loss of appetite

  • Inflammation near the tendons and ligament

  • Pain in the joint after vigorous physical activity

  • Shooting pain in the early morning after waking up

Causes for Ankylosing Spondylitis

There are no specific causes for Ankylosing spondylitis. But in people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at an increased risk of developing Ankylosing Spondylitis AS.

Who is at risk?

  • If you have a family history of Ankylosing Spondylitis

  • If you are positive for HLA-B27 marker

  • If you have frequent infection related to digestive tract

Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis AS is based on several factors which include your symptoms, physical examination, X-ray reports of back and pelvis, chest measurements while breathing, and the results of laboratory investigations.

Dietary modifications

A healthy diet is always a hit. In the case of Ankylosing Spondylitis AS healthy diet improves the symptoms and reduces the disease progressing activity. Omega-3 fatty acids that are available in cold water fishes such as salmon, tuna are beneficial. Flax seeds and walnuts also have the ability to reduce the disease activity.

There is no specific treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis AS. But the goals of the treatment include reducing the stiffness, discomfort, and pain.

Exercise: Performing regular exercises is an excellent remedy to treat the stiffness and to strengthen the muscles. Regular exercises minimize the risk of disability. Your doctor would advise swimming that works well for people with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Physical therapy: To retain or maintain the physical function the best suitable early intervention would be a physical therapy. It helps reduce the deformity.

Drugs: Drugs provide relief from the pain and help you continue your daily activities without any discomfort. The drugs may include NSAIDs, disease–modifying anti-rheumatoid drugs, steroid injections, antidepressants.

Surgery: Surgery may be the last choice in the treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis AS. However, your doctor would recommend a surgery if you have severe discomfort due to joint damage.

  • Refrain from placing pillows beneath the neck while resting
  • Try to sit on the chairs that don’t let you steep your posture
  • Smoking aggravates the condition, so you must refrain from using tobacco products
  • You must get a good support while sleeping, so sleep on a mattress that keeps your back straight

FAQ- Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis does not have any major-specific causes but in people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at an very high risk of developing Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis does not have any specific treatment but the goals of the treatment include reducing the stiffness, discomfort, and pain through Exercise, Physical therapy or Drugs.