LIVING WITH ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS (AS)
Ankylosing spondylitis—a chronic, inflammatory disease—can primarily cause pain in your back, neck, and hips. Pain and stiffness can also occur in other areas of the body such as your shoulders, ribs, heels, and small joints of the hands and feet. The pain associated with AS can also interfere with your sleep, making you feel tired. Because AS can affect you in so many ways, it’s important to talk to your rheumatologist about all of your symptoms and about a treatment plan.
Besides finding the right medication(s), here are a few other steps you can take to help you manage living with ankylosing spondylitis:
Back pain caused by AS tends to get worse when you’ve been sitting or lying down for a long period of time, but exercise can help. Exercise has been shown to help maintain mobility and range of motion.
Get enough sleep
Fatigue is a common problem for those with ankylosing spondylitis. Ask your doctor for tips on improving sleep.
Use ways to help make activities easier
While finding the right treatment with your rheumatologist is the best way to control your AS, there are small things you can do to help make daily life easier. Here are 3 things to help you get started:
- A lumbar support seat cushion for when you need to sit for long periods of time
- Have looser-fit, pull-on clothes on hand for days you're having symptoms
- Applying heat can be soothing—try a heat pad, electric blankets, or a hot bath
One study found that overall, smokers
with AS have 5.5 times greater spinal
damage than non-smokers.