Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic, autoimmune, and inflammatory health condition that, over time, can cause some of the small bones in your spine (vertebrae) to fuse. The fusing of the bones in the spine reduces the flexibility of your spine that can result in a hunched-forward posture.
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Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
The exact cause of Ankylosing spondylitis is unknown:
- Immunological cause: This is when your autoimmunity is fighting against your very own cell.
- Family history of ankylosing spondylitis.
Risk Factors of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Certain things that you can’t control might raise your risk of developing this discomforting condition:
- Gender: Males are more likely to develop the discomforts of Ankylosing spondylitis than females. Women happen to have a milder form of the condition.
- Age. Often, the onset of the condition starts in your teens and young adulthood. About 80% of cases begin before the person turns 30, and 95% by the age of 45.
- Stress: The research has revealed that the people who are taking stress are more vulnerable to this condition
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Here are some common symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
- Pain that’s worse in the morning or after sitting for a long time
- A rigid spine that curves forward
- Swelling in your joints
- Trouble taking deep breaths
- Restriction in the movements
Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
It can cause pain and inflammation throughout your body.
- Spine: In rare cases, your vertebrae may become weak, thereby making them more likely to fracture or break. Damaged vertebrae can press on or irritate a group of nerves at the bottom of your spinal cord. You might experience discomfort regulating your bowels or bladder, a loss of reflexes, and sexual problems.
- Eyes: People with AS have an eye problem called uveitis. It may make you suffer from a painful eye inflammation and blurred vision can blur your vision. You may experience sensitivity to the bright light. If you have uveitis, your doctor might check for ankylosing spondylitis even if you don’t have any other symptoms.
- Heart valve: Rarely, ankylosing spondylitis can enlarge your aorta, the largest artery in your body. It can result in a change in your aortic valve’s shape, thereby letting the blood leak back into the heart. Your heart won’t pump smoothly and you may experience shortness of breath.
Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
It is tough to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis as several people experience pain in the back. The diagnosis of the condition can be trickier for females as it is much more common in males.
There exists no single test which confirms the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor may consider and rely on your discomforting symptoms, recommend blood tests, and do a physical examination for the same. You also might have an X-ray or an MRI.
Treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Medications for ankylosing spondylitis comprises an experienced doctor’s prescription of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Also, some lifestyle modifications can help you obtain relief in discomfort and pain. Find them below.
A Few Lifestyle Modifications for Ankylosing Spondylitis:
1.Take a deep breath. Deep breathing is an important and effective way to maintain your lung capacity and keep your chest flexible. Breathe the air in through your nose and then breathe it out through your mouth. Lay your hands on your ribcage and concentrate on feeling them move as your chest expands. Deep breathing is something you can do anytime, even first thing in the morning when you’re feeling stiff.
2.Swimming- Swimming and aqua-therapy are great options for those suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Not only does the water creates buoyancy and gentle resistance for painful joints, but the warm, moist environment can ease the stiffness and improve circulation.
Many pools offer water aerobics classes for all skill levels. If you prefer to swim laps but find that some strokes hurt your neck, try using a snorkel.
3.Practice to lying in prone: Prone lying, or lying face down, is a great exercise to help you maintain an erect posture. Lie with face down on the floor or a firm surface for a few minutes to start. Position your head however is comfortable for you—straight down, resting on your hands, or to the side. Work toward staying in this position for 20 minutes.
Once you’ve practiced this for a while and feel comfortable with it, you can make it more advanced by lifting your head and shoulders as far as you can. Try this for 10 repetitions.
4.Yoga and Tai Chi: Both of these practices focus on gentle, controlled movements combined with spiritual centering. Tai chi is safe for just about anyone. Yoga has several different varieties, some of which may be too aggressive for those with ankylosing spondylitis. Have a word with your doctor about which type might be the best for you, or search for a yoga instructor who is experienced in working with those chronic conditions.
5.Do stretching and strengthening exercises: It’s important that the muscles supporting and surrounding your affected joints be strong and flexible. Do exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck, shoulders, core, and hips. Add small weights or resistance bands for an extra impact.
6.Take a walk: Just going outdoors and having a walk around the block is beneficial for you. If you don’t have the time or energy for a long walk, break it up; take a 10-minute walk at lunchtime and a 20-minute walk in the evening. If you need extra stability, you can give Nordic walking, which uses trekking poles, a try.
Walking is also an excellent chance to practice good posture. Focus on walking tall, with your head up and your back straight.
Ankylosing spondylitis can be a difficult condition to manage, but making time for exercise can help you feel better right away and in the long run.