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Living with ankylosing spondylitis


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Ankylosing spondylitis means chronic arthritis in the spine. It’s an autoimmune infection which in most cases runs in families. Patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis have limited movement in the spine. The condition deteriorates with age and with improper care, which is why patients are given support to improve their lifestyle.

In this article we have presented you a guide on how to live with ankylosing spondylitis.


Daily exercise helps to improve mobility

Your doctor will never advise you bed rest once the pain in under control. The secret to remaining active with ankylosing spondylitis in the long run is- exercise. And to know the right dose of daily exercise you need to consult your physiotherapist. Make sure you do not go overboard with your workout hours.

Stretching exercises- Stretching increases flexibility of your back, spine and limbs and you need to focus on those areas particularly. Back stretches, spinal twists and therapeutic yoga for neck and back will help you to get over the stiffness from your joints.

Physical activities to avoid- You must ask your doctor about your probability to try out adventure sports, weight lifting and contact sports like rugby, basketball, volleyball, etc. People with ankylosing spondylitis are discouraged such physical activities.


Incorporation of water exercises for Ankylosing spondylitis

Warm water is therapeutic. Water exercises are strongly recommended to AS patients because your joints receive excellent support with swimming, water walking, etc. Furthermore, you are not vulnerable to injuries as they are low impact activities designed to reduce pain, increase range of motion and relax your muscles.

  • You can join AS support group having provision for pool water activities designed exclusively for patients
  • Learn water aerobics to maintain flexibility in your body
  • Swimming and water walking in warm pool are must. Tautness, pain and stiffness from muscles are managed with swimming and walking.


Diet and nutrition for Ankylosing spondylitis

Remember Ankylosing spondylitis is an infection in your joints. Thus, doctors encourage you to eat foods that fight off the infection and boost your immunity.

  • You must eat fresh fruits and vegetables as they are enriched with vitamins and antioxidants which help to control infection. 
  • Eat healthy sources of omega 3 fatty acids like almonds, walnuts, olives, figs, etc., fresh water fish like salmon and tuna.
  • Get enough of protein from healthy sources like lean, skinless chicken, sprouts, lentils and pulses.
  • You must consume low fat dairy- milk and eggs 

You must cut down unhealthy foods that jeopardize your immune system, increase your weight and make you vulnerable to other diseases. They include red meat, fried food, fast foods, carbonated drinks, caffeinated beverages and alcohol.

To enhance your quality of life further, you must quit smoking.


Night time sleep is important

Often patients experience the flare up in the night. Thus, doctors encourage some change in habits that help induce restorative sleep. They are:

  • Lie down flat on your bed and meditate. This prepares you for a sound sleep
  • Make sure you sleep on an orthopedic mattress which is firm and neither too soft nor too hard
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in evening. Do not stuff yourself with water before bed time.


Some more tips for living with ankylosing spondylitis

  • You can visit occupational therapists and spas for treating yourself with acupressure, massages, mud packs, and warm water therapies
  • Get your eyes checked often and watch for infections. Make sure you get them treated
  • Take your medicines and supplements as advised by your doctor and do not miss the scheduled checkups.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: Novemeber 07, 2014