In case of ankylosing spondylitis, the inflammation of joints takes place in the pelvis and spine. It causes chronic pain in the affected area and is also progressive in nature. If it is left untreated for a long period of time, it will lead to fusion of bones. With the bones in your spine and ribcage fused together, your motion will be restricted and you will not be able to expand your lungs fully.
It will not only lead to respiratory problems, but will also show certain irritating symptoms like hip, joint and back pain. As far as the treatments of ankylosing spondylitis are concerned, they are all focused on decreasing the inflammation and pain. In this ensuing post, you will get to know certain treatment methods for ankylosing spondylitis.
Treatment Methods for Ankylosing Spondylitis
If you ask any patient suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, you will definitely hear about NSAIDs. It is considered as the common form of treatment and stands for Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs. These drugs are available over the counter and the two most common over-the-counter products are Aleve and Motrin.
You will not be allowed to purchase NSAIDs in higher doses without doctor’s prescription. Similar to any other synthetic drugs, the NSAIDs are also comprised of certain gastrointestinal side effects like bleeding, heartburn and ulcers. You should take antacid along with these drugs to avoid irritations in your stomach.
If NSAIDs fail to suppress the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis then the doctors may recommend sulfasalazine as alternative treatment. Sulfasalazine not only reduces the swelling but also alleviates the severe pain in the joints. However, this drug interferes with the functioning of the bone marrow. For this reason, physicians perform frequent blood tests to check the blood counts in patients under this medication.
Methotrexate is used in small amounts to treat ankylosing spondylitis, but it is a chemotherapy drug comprising of side effects like mouth ulcers. However, doctors suggest taking folic acid along with this drug in order to suppress the side effects. Moreover, this treatment may also be accompanied by corticosteroid injections like prednisone to relieve the joints from pain and inflammation.
Enbrel is a biologic drug rarely used to treat ankylosing spondylitis. Though this drug effectively reduces the pain and inflammation related to spinal arthritis, but they are accompanied by serious side effects like increased chances of developing cancer or tuberculosis.
Exercise is not only effective, but also helps in alleviating the disturbing symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis in the long run. There are several stretching and aerobic exercises meant to flex your spine and enhance the pulmonary functions in your body. Workout at least 20 minutes each day and try to maintain a proper posture with every exercise you perform.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Heat is usually used to diminish muscle pain or relax the stiff joints. You can apply heat to the affected area through warm shower or a hot water pack. Ice packs are used to alleviate the arthritic pain and decrease the inflammation in the joints caused by ankylosing spondylitis.