Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis which affects spine specifically and causes stiffness with pain. Due to pain and stiffness the patient is not able to stay comfortable and the daily chores are difficult to be performed.
By making certain changes in the lifestyle and including exercises in daily routine the person can deal with the pain and stiffness. To start with choose the appropriate time of the day which suits you and make exercise part of your daily routine.
Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes and start with easy exercises first but always after warm up. Start with small sets and don’t exert yourself as it may increase the pain. So start slowly and gradually increase the exercises. If the pain increases suddenly and don’t go, consult to the doctor.
Here are few tips to manage the disease:
- Correct posture while walking: First of all posture of the spine should be corrected. Spine should be straight (as straight as possible) with head high and shoulders backwards.
- Correct posture of standing: Posture while standing can be rectified by standing against a wall with your back facing the wall. Your head, shoulders, hips and heels should touch the wall.
- Correct posture while sitting: sit with your spine straight.
- Correct posture while lying: the person with ankylosing spondylitis should lie down on tummy with no pillow or the thin one.
- Swimming: swimming is a complete exercise for dealing with ankylosing spondylitis. It would help in increasing flexibility of the spine.
- Deep breathing: deep breathing exercises can help in better chest expansion as due to stiffness in spine the muscles attached to the ribs also get stretched. This causes decreased lung capacity. Deep breathing exercises would help to increase lung capacity and better chest expansion.
- Yoga: yoga would help in relieving stiffness along with pain. Yoga would also increase flexibility.
- Bathing with warm water: always bath with warm water, it would increase flexibility and relieve pain. Better to bath before exercise as it would make it easy for you to exercise.
- Stay active: key to deal the stiffness is to stay active whole day. So be active and keep moving.
- Walk: walk with full activity of the body. Walk for 20 minutes atlas everyday.
- Apply hot and cold packs: applying hot and cold packs would help in relieving pain and stiffness. If you are having flare ups then apply cold packs otherwise hot packs.
- Stretching: do stretching before exercises as it would help you initiate exercise with ease.
WHAT IS ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis (inflammation of joints) which affects the spine specifically. Chronic inflammation causes the bones of the spine (vertebrae) to fuse together (ankylosis) leading to rigid spine causing pain and stiffness. The fusing of vertebrae caused by chronic inflammation may cause stooped posture as well.
- Males are affected more then females
- Family history of ankylosing spondylitis
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
- Pain: pain in lower back, hips specially starting from the sacroiliac joint. Inflammation also affects the tendons and ligaments which cause muscular pain as well.
- Stiffness: due to chronic inflammation the bones fuse together which cause stiffness and restrict mobility.
- Breathing difficulties as stiffness would cause restricted chest movements too.
- Other associated symptoms include inflammation of eyes causing eye pain, sensitivity to light and blurring of vision.
- There could be inflammation in the large arteries as well.
The exact cause of the disease is not known but there is genetic inheritance and majority of people who suffer from the disease are born with HLA-B27 gene. The presence of genes may be detected by blood test.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
- Symptoms of pain and stiffness in the back.
- Physical examination.
- X-ray findings
- For early visibility MRI should be done over x-ray as early changes can’t be detected by simple X-ray.
- Presence of HLA-B27 gene
The goal of the treatment is to relieve the pain and stiffness along with delaying the bone changes in the patient.
- Exercise: exercises would help the patient to feel better in pain and stiffness. There are various exercises which are useful in cases of ankylosing spondylitis.
- Swimming is one of the best way to get rid of pain and stiffness.
- Certain medicines are used to relieve pain and stiffness which don’t give permanent relief.
- Primary management is to relieve pain and stiffness in the patient.
- Certain exercises are advised to the patient to relieve pain and stiffness.
- Swimming is advised as it is the best exercise for ankylosing spondylitis.
- Aerobic exercises are also encouraged.
- Patient should be advised to bath with hot water in morning as hot water would remove stiffness and would help the patient to start the day well.
- Patient should be advised to improve the posture of his body while standing, sitting and lying down.
- If the patient smokes, then advice to stop smoking should be given.
- Daily breathing exercises should be done by the patient.
- Being active full day would also help the patient to feel better with pain and stiffness.
There are various homeopathic medicines which would help in relieving pain and stiffness in the patient. The medicines would also give long lasting relief to the patient and don’t have any side effects.
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Be active.
- Maintain good and appropriate posture while standing, sitting and lying down.
- Apply hot and cold packs. If inflammation is active apply cold packs and to relieve pain and stiffness when inflammation phase is over apply hot packs.
- Do yoga.
- Do exercise daily.
- Bath with hot water.
- Do brisk walking for 20 minutes at least.
- Do stretching before exercise.
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t stay in one posture for long.
- Don’t overuse the muscles.