What To Know About Ankolysing Spondylitis

What To Know About Ankolysing Spondylitis

Ankolysing Spondylitis is a condition that leads to inflammation of the spine, which can lead to severe pain and disability. It is also known as Bechterew’s disease. Ankolysing Spondylitis is highly prevalent among Scandinavians and Eastern Europeans. Men are more likely to get this condition than women. Over time, ankylosing spondylitis can cause some bones in the spine (vertebrae) to stick together. Here are some things to know about ankylosing spondylitis.

1. What Is the Main Cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

It has no specific determined causative factor. But according to many scientists, the leading cause of ankylosing spondylitis is a defect in a gene. This gene, called HLA-B27, is found on chromosome 6. However, not all people with the gene develop ankylosing spondylitis. There are other factors too.

2. How Serious Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can get worse with age. The condition is rarely disabling or life-threatening. However, symptoms like joint pain can interfere with your ability to do the things you love. Early intervention can reduce inflammation and pain.

3. Can Ankylosing Spondylitis Be Cured?

Ankylosing spondylitis cannot be cured. But with the proper diagnosis and treatment, you can treat symptoms and maintain a high quality of life. Treatment can also help delay or stop the fusion and hardening of the spine. The treatment involves the following.

a. Exercise

Regular exercise can help you manage pain and stiffness while reducing stress and strengthening your muscles. Physical activity can boost self-esteem, help you sleep better, improve mood, promote healthy weight, and increase flexibility.

b. Medication

Medications can relieve pain and inflammation and slow the progression of ankylosing spondylitis. Some medicines are given by injection, while others may be taken orally as tablets or capsules.

c. Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy sessions can help maintain mobility and prevent muscle deterioration. It involves massaging the muscles, applying heat to the joints, and restoring the normal range of motion. Physiotherapy can also reduce pain and fatigue. You can learn to use aids such as a cane, crutches, or a brace.

This should be done by a professional or a licensed physiotherapist as they have the skills to teach you the right exercises and do them correctly. It is a complex and challenging job, but you will be able to at least walk again and enjoy your life more.

d. Biological treatments (Anti-TNF medicine)

Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) biologic medicines are considered one of the latest and most effective treatments for ankylosing spondylitis. They work by blocking the effects of a protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha). TNFalpha is a naturally occurring protein that is a key factor in ankylosing spondylitis.

e. Surgery

The goal of surgery is to fix any problem in your spine and allow you to move with ease. This can also relieve severe pain. However, the decision to go under the knife depends on how bad your spondylitis is and whether you have other complications. A medical professional will have to examine you and discuss the procedures to see if surgery is the best option for you.

4. What does Ankylosing Spondylitis Feel Like?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a painful condition that can incapacitate you. The pain in your spine increases when you move. Movements such as turning over in bed, climbing stairs, and walking can cause severe pain. In the morning, general body stiffness of the back and hips are a common occurrence due to staying in the same position while sleeping.

5. Ankolysing Spondylitis Symptoms

It can take some time for the symptoms to be noticed or recognized when the condition has been present for quite some time. Following are some common symptoms of ankylosing Spondylitis.

a. Joint Pain

In most cases, the pain occurs in the lower back and hips, especially after turning over in bed, climbing stairs, or walking. It is worse if you have been sitting or lying down for long periods.

b. Decreased Flexibility of the Back

One of the main signs of ankylosing spondylitis is reduced spine flexibility. This stiffness causes pain and loss of normal range of motion in your spine. Over time, your spinal flexion, extension, and rotation may become severely limited. It may put pressure on nerves in the back, causing pain in muscles, bones, and joints in this region as well.

c. Inflammation of the Eyes

Inflammation of the eyes is also associated with Ankylosing spondylitis, which increases the risk or occurrence of eye problems such as inflammation of the conjunctiva (pink lining of your eyelid), uveitis (inflammation in the middle layer of the eye) or inflammation of the retina. These conditions may eventually result in blurred vision, irritation, and pain in and around your eyes.

d. Kyphosis

Kyphosis is a forward rounding of the upper back. This is an indicator of Ankylosing spondylitis. A flexibility test may be conducted to assess your kyphosis. In this test, you are required to touch your toes, sit cross-legged or kneel with your arms outstretched, which can cause additional stress to the spinal region and aggravate symptoms.

6. Can Ankolysing Spondylitis Be Triggered?

Ankylosing spondylitis can be triggered by several factors. Here are some examples that can trigger or worsen the condition.

a. Stress

Stress not only increases your risk of suffering from ankylosing spondylitis but also aggravates the symptoms and progression of the condition as well. Stress is a significant factor that can make your condition worse. Stress affects your body, your brain, and your heart.

b. Smoking

Smoking has been linked to ankylosing spondylitis, although this is still unclear. Tobacco use may affect the immune system, worsening the symptoms and increasing the risk of other conditions or infections secondary to ankylosing spondylitis.

c. Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

In addition to complications associated with chronic alcoholism and some drugs, they can also trigger or worsen Ankolysing Spondylitis symptoms. They may also interfere with the use of medications recommended by your healthcare provider.

d. Infections

Infections are also known to trigger or worsen Ankolysing Spondylitis. These infections may cause inflammation and worsen the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis by increasing the toll on the spine. These include infections such as sexually transmitted infections.

7. Can You Have Ankolysing Spondylitis in Your Cervical Spine?

You can have ankylosing spondylitis in your cervical spine. In most cases, this causes chronic pain and stiffness in your neck, back, shoulder, and upper limbs. As time passes, about 70% of people with ankylosing spondylitis develop disc issues in the upper lumbar or lower lumbar regions.

8. Does Ankolysing Spondylitis Increase Blood Pressure?

Having ankylosing spondylitis does not typically increase your blood pressure. In relation to your heart, it could reduce your chances of heart attack and stroke. This is because Ankylosing Spondylitis causes your arteries to become inflamed and restrict blood flow through them, which reduces the risk of plaque building up on the artery walls.

9. Can Ankolysing Spondylitis Lead To Degenerative Facet Joints?

Spondylitis can lead to degenerative facet joint diseases. This is when the cartilage covering the bones of the spine deteriorates. Degeneration results in bone spurs and inflammation that leads to pain and stiffness in your back, joints, arms, and hands.

10. Managing Ankolysing Spondylitis

There are specialists in various medical fields who can help you manage your Ankolysing Spondylitis. Treatment is based on the severity of your condition. Here are some of the areas that provide treatment.

a. Physical Therapists

Physical therapists can help you manage your condition, including exercises, rehabilitation, and activities in which you can relieve stress. They also help improve your flexibility and range of motion to ensure your spine remains healthy.

b. Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic specialists specialize in operations for patients who suffer from Ankylosing spondylitis, including joint replacement surgery, revisions of previously performed procedures, and pain management. They also aid in diagnosing and treating soft tissues and musculoskeletal diseases.

c. Psychologists

Psychologists can help patients with ankylosing spondylitis cope with the stress of living with a chronic illness and its side effects. They may also help you develop coping strategies through therapy. These strategies can help you reduce stress levels.

d. Rheumatology

Rheumatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating rheumatic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis. They can provide medications that may help relieve your pain and inflammation while also helping to prevent your condition from progressing. They also help in managing arthritis, suggesting various treatments and therapies.

11. What Are The Stages Of Ankylosing Spondylitis

The various stages of Ankylosing Spondylitis depend on the severity of your condition and the other factors that play a role. It is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition. However, they are generally divided into two stages.

a. Early Ankylosing Spondylitis

This marks the initial onset of symptoms. This will gradually develop as your immune system becomes exhausted, affecting your nervous system and causing joint pain and inflammation.

b. Advanced Ankylosing Spondylitis

This stage mostly begins after a few years and lasts for the rest of your life. This is where you will experience long-term pain, reduced mobility, stiffness, and difficulties with everyday tasks.

Ankylosing Spondylitis can affect your quality of life. But with the proper treatment, you can live an everyday life free of pain and limitations. The earlier you recognize Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms, the easier it will be for you to fight and manage this chronic condition. Aim for early detection of your condition to ensure that you get the correct treatment early, and also see briefing.

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