What I Did Wrong
Early treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is key for any person who is suffering from this condition. The early you treat ankylosing spondylitis, the better the quality of life and reduced pain that you will feel. Luckily, these days ankylosing spondylitis treatment is so advanced that people who suffer from AS can live a normal functional life without little pain.
Here are the types of ankylosing spondylitis treatment:
The first and primary ankylosing spondylitis treatment is medication. Medication can help reduce the inflammation, pain and also slow down the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AS at the current moment, but there is treatment to stall it.
The most effective and recent medication to treat AS is Tumor necrosis factor – alpha Blockers (TNF-a blockers). This medication is used to supressed the immune system such that the body does not attack its own cells. It also stops inflammation from starting and hence significantly reduces arthritis and pain in the joints. Medications that are TNF-a blockers are Infliximab and Etanercept.
Disease Modifying Antirheumatic drugs(DMARDs) are also effective in slowing down the progression of AS. DMARDs like TNF-a blockers, help to suppress the immune system from attacking its own joints. One of the most common medication use is Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine and Cyclosporin. DMARDs are not as effective as TNF-a blockers though.
Corticosteroids help significantly to reduce inflammation in the spinal joints of the AS sufferer. They can be injected right into the joint and can immediately relieve pain and symptoms. Unfortunately, they tend to be short term and can last for approximately 6 months.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and Ibuprofen can be used to treat the inflammation and pain. They are very effective in relieving the pain and can be fast acting in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, long term use can cause gastro-intestinal issues.
One of the most beneficial ankylosing spondylitis treatment is exercise. Exercise helps to maintain nutrition and prevent muscle wastage in the spinal joints. It also helps to reduce pain, weakness and inflammation in the long term. Walking, swimming, pilates and stretching help to reduce the progression of the disease. Exercises are best prescribed by a physical therapist to reduce aggravation of symptoms and to improve flexibility and strength.
If severe, surgery may be indicated. One of the most common procedures are joint replacements, particularly to the peripheral joints like the hips or knees. Surgery may be performed if there is significant changes to posture due to spinal deformities which impact on activities of daily living. Unfortunately, surgery is not commonly recommended for AS sufferers as it can make symptoms worse.
Massage is very good for AS sufferers. This is because massage helps to increase blood flow to joints that are stiff. It also helps to loosen tight muscles and joints will allow better functional flexibility to the joint.
Heat also increases blood flow to the joints which loosens joints and muscles. One of the best ankylosing spondylitis treatment is the spa or sauna which loosen and relaxes the spine.