Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic condition. It’s a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints of the spine. The joints where the spine meets the pelvis are most affected. The condition may also impact areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bones. It may cause inflammation in other areas of the body.
Ankylosing spondylitis is more common and more severe in men. Many people with AS have stiffness and pain in the lower back. This pain may be sporadic and range in severity. These symptoms can progress into the upper spine. There are other symptoms vary from person to person, such as: loss of flexibility, sensitivity to light, reduced lung capacity, difficult breathing, stomach or bowel problems, and so on. Although AS is progressive, not everyone will experience spinal fusion or severe complications.
There isn’t a cure for AS. It’s a lifelong condition, but effective treatments are available. Treatment goals are to minimize pain and stiffness and reduce flares. Natural treatments may be used on their own or with traditional AS treatments:
1 Exercise and Stretching
Exercise is considered one of the most important aspects of treatment for AS. Exercise keeps joints and muscles flexible, encourages circulation and can keep the spine mobile. Physiotherapist can suggest different types of exercise to strengthen the back, encourage movement in the spine and help to reduce pain.
Stretching helps build flexibility and may reduce pain. Consider adding the spine stretch or the low-back rotation stretch to your daily routine.
2 Heat and Cold Therapy
Apply a hot water bottle or heating pad to the affected area to reduce stiffness and pain. You may also use moist or dry heat. A warm bath may also help, especially before exercise. Don’t use heat therapy without consulting your doctor if you have diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, vascular disease, an open wound, or a skin condition such as dermatitis.
Applying an ice pack, cold gel pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables to painful joints can help reduce swelling. After exercise, cold therapy may help reduce inflammation. Don’t apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Don’t use cold therapy without consulting your doctor if you have circulation problems.
Acupuncture is an ancient remedy for pain. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points in your skin. This is thought to activate your body’s pain-relieving hormones. Some people report acupuncture relieves AS pain.
4 Do not Smoking
smoking is obviously bad for your health anyway but if you have AS the effect on the lungs and breathing can be a real issue.
Many studies have suggested the curcumin (active ingredient) from turmeric may be helpful to reduce inflammation due to its ability to block pro-inflammatory pathways in most chronic diseases.
Ginger may help in its anti-inflammatory action. Ginger is well indicated for arthritic conditions. The active ingredients gingerols, shagoals and paradols in ginger root have been credited with its many of the anti-inflammatory actions. Incorporate fresh or dried ginger regularly in the diet and choose a supplement form when pain relief is needed.
7 Fish Oil
Fish oil is well known as an anti-inflammatory for arthritic conditions and is able to reduce the activity of the disease.
Although most people require some type of medical therapy for AS, natural remedies may also help reduce symptoms. Not all alternative treatments are right for everyone with AS. It’s important to consult your doctor about your medications and any alternative therapy that you’re considering. If you’re experiencing any side effects or pain related to alternative therapies, talk with your doctor as soon as possible.