Lifestyle Changes To Manage Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), is a type of arthritis that firstly disturbs the spine. It is a persistent inflammatory disease that causes stiffness, pain, and immobility in disturbed areas. Typically, this condition begins in early adulthood and gets worse over time. There are several treatments available for managing ankylosing spondylitis, through which you can ease your AS symptoms. Further, let’s see some lifestyle changes for managing ankylosing spondylitis symptoms. 

What is ankylosing spondylitis? 

Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation in the spine, resulting in pain and stiffness. This primarily targets the sacroiliac joint, which connects with the spine to the hipbone. After some time, the bony bridge will be formed between the vertebrae, and further, this will fuse together. As a result of this fusion, your spine will become straight and stiff, which will reduce flexibility and cause a stooped posture. 

Even at times, other joints of your body, like hips and shoulders, will get affected. Yet the actual cause of this disease has yet to be accurately found, but professionals believe that genetics plays a crucial role. 

What are the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis? 

Simply said, the symptoms may vary from person to person and can also come and go over time. But the common symptoms include: 

  • Back pain 
  • Morning stiffness 
  • Stooped posture 
  • Reduced flexibility 
  • Toughness to breath 
  • Fatigue 
  • Joint pain 
  • Eyes swelling 
  • Digestive problems 

It is crucial to understand that all these symptoms can overlap with other conditions, so an appropriate ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis from a doctor is significant. 

What are the lifestyle changes you can make to manage ankylosing spondylitis? 

– Exercise and Stretching: 

In ankylosing spondylitis, exercising and stretching remain a standard part. Even a few studies suggest that there are benefits to long-term physical activity for individuals with managing ankylosing spondylitis. Practicing low-impact exercises will help you strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility and ability to move freely. Further, these exercises can also do, 

  • Reduce pain 
  • Improve sleep 
  • Assist in healthy weight maintenance 
  • Enhance mood 

When it comes to managing ankylosing spondylitis, the treatment mainly focuses on reducing pain, and assisting you maintain good posture. Even your doctor will recommend you do some physical exercises, and they will suggest some therapists as part of your treatment. 

– Healthy Eating Habits: 

Individuals with ankylosing spondylitis will typically have a higher body mass index and may go through more symptoms. Even obesity is linked with more inflammation in the spine and body. At the same time, there is no catered diet for people with AS, so it’s better to eat in a way that helps you maintain a healthy weight. Notably, maintaining a healthy weight will reduce stress on your joints. Simply, if you are looking for a permanent cure for ankylosing spondylitis, just follow a healthy diet. 

Even though there is no specific diet for this disease, you can follow some common diets like: 

  • Your diet must contain fruits and vegetables 
  • Prefer foods high in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Stay away from highly processed foods 
  • Avoid consuming alcohol, limit salt, and highly saturated fat intake 
  • Drink at least 8–10 glasses of water every day 
  • Take the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals 

– Stress Management: 

Individuals with acute prolonged pain caused by arthritis, including people who live with ankylosing spondylitis, will go through some psychological distress. This persistent pain will increase distress, and this will increase the intensity of pain. Further, lack of physical activity due to this condition can also negatively affect your mood. 

So, try to follow some stress management strategies that can complement managing ankylosing spondylitis treatment. For instance, doing yoga can increase physical functioning and help to seek out psychological distress. Some other strategies include deep breathing, meditation, or tai chi. 

– Smoking Cessation: 

Smoking can aggravate your AS in several ways, so it is better to get an ankylosing spondylitis treatment in Coimbatore to lead a healthy life without any inconveniences. It increases swelling and pain in people with ankylosing spondylitis and may result in increased severity and physical disability. Even research has found that smoking will trigger lower back pain and spinal diseases like AS. 

Quitting smoking will potentially reduce inflammation. Simply, physical functioning and quality of life increase when people try managing ankylosing spondylitis by quit smoking. 

– Practice Good Posture: 

Usually, maintaining a wise posture can reduce the severity and also help managing ankylosing spondylitis-related issues. In certain cases, AS causes vertebrae to fuse, resulting in a stooped posture over time. This can make it tough to move and do daily activities. 

Strategies to get good posture include: 

  • While sleeping, use pillows, like on your back with a pillow, under your knees or else between your legs in case you are a side sleeper. You also need a pillow under your head that lets your neck be straight at night. 
  • While sitting in a chair, use a support for your lower back. 
  • When standing, bring your shoulder blades together on your back. 
  • Take some breaks if you are the person who always looks down (e.g: while using a mobile) 

– Prioritize Quality of  Sleep: 

Individuals with ankylosing spondylitis usually go through fatigue and sleep-related issues. Whereas treatments are given to treat conditions like fatigue, they won’t work. These problems will disturb your quality of sleep and life also this will differ from person to person. Even the fatigue may vary between seasons. 

Few people will be advised to take medications to combat sleep-related issues and fatigue, while others are recommended to adopt some sleep hygiene habits to avoid napping in the daytime to get better sleep overnight. Simply said, the best rheumatologist in Coimbatore will assist you in all possible ways to ease all your ankylosing spondylitis symptoms. 

Final Thoughts: 

Ankylosing spondylitis is a genetic, autoimmune condition that can cause persistent pain, disturb your physical activity, and impact your quality of life. The above-mentioned lifestyle changes may act as better treatment options. 

Lifestyle modifications like exercising, maintaining good posture, strengthening muscles, consuming healthy foods, practicing good sleep hygiene, managing stress, and quitting smoking, can assist in reducing the symptoms of managing ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor will assist you in including these strategies in your daily routine and at times also support you to find additional support.