People with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) suffer from stiffening of the spine and decreased mobility which impairs their capacity to satisfactorily participate in regular daily activities. They may also suffer harm to non-vertebral joints as well, which usually affects the hips (although the knees, ankles, and shoulders might be affected too). If the damage is severe, total joint replacement or arthroplasty may be counseled. AS is a disease that, left untreated, can lead to severe impairments.
AS is an autoimmune disorder and is a spondyloarthropathy. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory condition that may affect a variety of regions of the body (like the heart, the eyes, the lungs, and kidneys) but mostly attacks the joints of the spine and the joints between the pelvis and the backbone. The inflammation can lead not just to stiffness and pain but can lead to ankylosis (fixation of joints).
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Early signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis consist of pain and stiffness in the lower spine and hips, particularly in the morning and after periods of inactivity. Exhaustion and neck pain are common. Symptoms cease in irregular intervals, but they can also worsen.
Areas most commonly affected are:
- The joint between the bottom of your spine and your pelvis (the sacroiliac joint)
- The vertebrae in your spine
- The areas where your ligaments and tendons connect to the bones (entheses), mostly in the backbone, but occasionally across the back of your head
- The cartilage between your breastbone and ribs
- Your hip and shoulder joints
Cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis does not have any known specific cause, although hereditary factors appear to be involved. Specifically, people with the HLA-B27 gene are at an increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis. Fortunately, not all individuals with the gene develop the problem.
How to Manage Ankylosing Spondylitis
To manage ankylosing spondylitis, you will need to boost hydration and alkalize your system. Mild dehydration makes the pain worse and makes tissue repair difficult for the body. You can’t be hydrated with tea, coffee, soda, and energy drinks. You need to drink more water.
To quickly hydrate the body, take 12 oz. of plain water, add 1 tbsp. of raw apple cider vinegar, or one tablespoon of lime juice. You can add 1/4 tsp. of baking soda to make the drink taste more acidic. This concoction can be drunk 2-4 times everyday.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Exercise
Bed rest is not recommended since this can accelerate the stiffening of your backbone. Exercises for the limbs, chest, and your back will keep them supple. Take care not to overdo it, however. But do try to get some exercise every day. After a shower or bath, stretching exercises are great for relieving morning stiffness. Here are a few examples:
1. Lying on your back, knees bent, feet
(a) Place your hands in your ribs on the sides of the torso. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, shoving against your ribs. Repeat about 10 times. Bear in mind, it is essential to breathe deeply in and out.
(b) Put your hands on the top area of the front of the chest. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out as far as possible in your mouth. Do this ten times while pushing your ribs up. You can perform this exercise anytime, whether in a sitting or lying position.
2. Lie on your back. Look straight ahead and put your hands by your sides:
(a) Lift 1 leg off the ground, keeping your knee straight. Do this about 5 times for each leg.
(b) Raise your head and shoulders off the floor as high as you can about 10 times.
3. While kneeling on the ground on all fours, stretch out your legs and arms parallel with the floor and hold for 10 minutes. Repeat 5 times per side with the other leg and arm.
Home Treatments and Nutritional Supplements for Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Vitamin C is crucial for the immune system and tissue restoration.
- Vitamin D can be obtained by consuming cod liver oil.
- Mullein root tincture is useful for joint pain. It is helpful to raise the lubrication in the joints. It may be taken internally or applied topically.
- Borax is used for gout, such as ankylosing spondylitis. This chemical helps alkalize the body and puts hormones and minerals within the body at equilibrium. For males, put 1/4 tsp in a liter of water. Sip it throughout the day. For women, add 1/8 tsp in a liter of water instead.
- Castor oil is a curative oil that might be used topically for the pain. Massage this oil into affected areas. It will stain bedding and clothing, so be warned.
Are Disability Benefits Available to Ankylosing Spondylitis?
AS may cause substantial damage to joints and internal organs, and the pain and restriction in freedom can make work hard. However, if treated with the correct drugs, the injury that leads to inflammation can be lessened.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider AS because it’s a potentially disabling illness. Benefits may be awarded if the condition is proven by medical imaging, and if you prove that you have symptoms of AS. You can make an application for disability benefits if you cannot work.
Medically Qualifying with Ankylosing Spondylitis
The SSA recognizes Ankylosing Spondylitis as disabling. To be eligible, you must satisfy the listing in the Inflammatory Arthritis part of the Blue Book, which is the guide of conditions utilized by the SSA in reviewing claims for SSD.
Though AS is manageable given the right therapy and medicine, not all situations respond to treatment. And even if the disease does respond to available drugs, physical therapy, together with other management processes, the pain, stiffness, and complications accompanying the disease may nevertheless make it impossible to work or to earn a gainful living.