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, can improve general health and function, and plays a role in helping to prevent and manage deformities related to ankylosing spondylitis.
Fatigue is a common problem for those with ankylosing spondylitis. Ask your doctor for tips on improving sleep.
Of course, connecting with a support group and maintaining overall health can help you manage AS symptoms.
One study found that overall, smokers
with AS have 5.5 times greater spinal
damage than non-smokers.