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Living With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Dr. Mazhar Iqbal

3 min read

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Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis can be a constant frustration for those who suffering from it. AS is a disease that results in inflammation of the joints. This causes significant pain in all joints of the body and the back as well. 

 Therefore, Ankylosing Spondylitis leads to a life ridden with creaky joints and bitter mouthfuls of pills. Moreover, just like with any arthritis disease, if you don’t take your medication every 8-12 hours, then everything becomes painful. 

Also, AS does not follow any timeline and thus can attack any time of the day. This condition is not just painful, but extremely disruptive as well. From basic chore like sleeping to any recreational activity, everything suffers because of this disease. 

 Furthermore, if left undiagnosed, the AS can further aggravate the situation. It not only effects the mental health, but physical wellbeing is jeopardized as well. Eventually, these symptoms lead to secondary complications as well like depression, weight gain etc. 

Hence, living with Ankylosing Spondylitis is very difficult and excruciating. Even the mundane tasks become daunting. To cut the long story short, the picture looks pretty bleak. However, despite these difficulties, it is still possible to manage the disease. There are steps you can take to live a normal, happy and healthy life with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Practice relaxation techniques

Practice diaphragmatic techniques, meditation and mindfulness. According to both meditation and therapy experts, these practices can help patients cope with the pain and stress in a more effective way. Yoga breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), transcendental meditation are also some techniques, though more advanced that can help patients deal with the everyday stresses of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Up your bedding game

It is recommended that people with Ankylosing Spondylitis sleep on a firm mattress with their backs straight. Placing pillows under the neck is discouraged as it may cause the back to bend in a painful, flexed position. It’s really important to have a flat pillow that doesn’t lift up your head. Also, propping the legs over any raised surface such as a pillow is a bad idea since it could cause the hip or knee to bend or flex. On the same note, choose chairs, tables or other surfaces that avoid stooping or slumping.

Stay active

Exercise is crucially important for those with arthritis. It increases strength, flexibility and counters stress and fatigue and reduces joint pain. The benefits of exercise don’t just stop there; it also helps you maintain your bone strength, energizes you for the rest of the day and improves the quality of your life in general. Your doctor can recommend a variety of exercises which may include range of motion exercises, aerobic exercises or other joint-building exercises.

Also, since you know your body best, you have to make the executive decision about the level of activity your body can take from the prescribed regimen. Start off with the doctor- approved workout, however, if the pain gets too much, call it a day as that is the body’s signal of reaching its limit. Stick to that much activity thereafter. Moreover, make the exercise a routine; do it regularly to reap maximum benefits. 

Stretch those joints

Stretching is very beneficial for easing the pain that stems from living with Ankylosing Spondylitis. It also helps improve posture which is great for the back. Therefore, try incorporating stretching and exercises like yoga that include stretching in the workout routine. Another benefit of yoga is that it helps battle stress. Therefore makes it easier to be positive and well-armed to fight the disease. Consult with an orthopedic surgeon in Karachi before you engage in any strenuous exercise.

Make your diet wholesome

There is a growing trend in the popular culture that eating certain foods and spices may help reduce joint inflammation from arthritis. According to experts, healthy eating whereby natural foods like fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, seeds and nuts etc. no just help in the process of weight loss but also ease joint pain. 

There is no such thing as magic food when it comes to arthritis but getting a healthy, balanced diet including veggies (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage), fatty fish, turmeric and vitamin C may help fight inflammation and joint disease.

Moreover, a low carb diet is also very helpful. Not only does it reduce weight and thus relieves the added exertion on the joints, but also helps in the process of weight loss. 

Stay positive

Learn to be positive, yet objective. Don’t let Ankylosing Spondylitis stop you from doing what you want to do in life. Adapt your dreams and goals to your condition instead of giving up on them. It’s also better to surround yourselves with people who share the same condition. Joining a support group so that you can be invaluable to each other on emotional and practical level is one of the ways to stay optimistic yet focused about your condition.

Hence, living with Ankylosing Spondylitis is possible, by taking by few practices that aren’t all that hard to do. Small steps can lead to big, positive change. 

You can get tested for Ankylosing Spondylitis at government hospitals or by visiting a Orthopedician. You can book an appointment with a top orthopedician in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for any arthritis related concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Mazhar Iqbal - Author "Dr. Mazhar Iqbal is an orthopedic surgeon, practicing in Lahore. He is Specialist in Musculoskeletal Infections, Joint Replacement Surgery, Complex Fractures, and Pediatric Orthopedic Problems. You can book appointment with him through oladoc."
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