Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis which affects the spine. It is characterized by stiffness and pain from the lower back to the neck. The vertebrae(spinal bone) fuse together resulting in a rigid bone. Early treatment and diagnoses helps to control stiffness and pain. It can also prevent or reduce significant deformity. Ankylosing spondylitis can have signs such as pain, stiffness, bony fusion and pain in the tendons & ligaments. Yet as such the symptoms of the condition is not limited to the joints.
Even though they both are associated with bones and joints, there is a difference in the nature of damage they cause to it.
In the case of Spondylitis, the symptoms may resemble arthritis that is inflammation between the spinal joints. This inflammation causes fusing around the bones making it difficult for the patient to move or have a straight posture.
On the other hand, Spondylosis causes wear and tear in your joints. The damage can escalate as you age and make the watery disks between joints wear out causing a gap between the two or growth of bone spurs making the stiffness and pain worse.
The cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis have not been determined yet. Despite such, some researchers say that there is a strong hereditary link. The HLA-B27 gene is said to be particularly responsible for this condition. But then again statistics found that 10 % people who have this condition also show no symptoms of the condition.
Diagnosing the condition
It is difficult to diagnose the condition with general diagnostic testing such as physical and symptomatic testing. Other diagnostic procedures such as X-rays of the pelvis and the back, measuring the chest while the patient breathes, lab tests infer comparably more confirmative results. A general physician should be initially approached if one experiences or entertains suspicions of the condition’s symptoms. He/she would direct you to a concerned specialist when required.
The root cause behind the occurrence of Ankylosing Spondylitis is still under the shade, although some studies have shown its connection with a genetic mutation which makes it very difficult to get triggered by a specific vitamin deficiency.
So it's no, however deficiency of vitamin D can increase the complications as its key function in the human body is to boost the supply of calcium.
Unfortunately there is yet no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, yet clinical research is in progress. Despite such symptomatic treatments have been observed to reduce discomfort and improve functional abilities. Such treatments aim to abate pain, rigidity, persisting stiffness, regain posture and stance and many cases prevent deformity. Many patients, after such treatments have reportedly been able to resume normal activities with relative ease. Generally a team of physicians comprising of doctors, physical and occupational therapist tend to the patients.
Physical and occupational therapy is found to be very helpful and important to maintain functional abilities of the body and minimize severe deformities. Therapists also suggest customized exercised regimes. Breathing techniques and swimming are the most advised form of exercises.
The key objective of the treatment will be focused on decreasing the risk of further complications and current symptoms of pain and inflammation. Some of the best methods may include:
The course will include anti-inflammatory drugs. Depending upon the severity of inflammation it can be common drugs like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers and interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitors. These medications also help you to get relief from stiffness and pain. Consult your doctor for the dosage and consumption methods as they can develop other medical conditions if not taken properly.
This part of the treatment consists of the physical maintenance of the body. Your doctor may ask to follow a certain set of exercises, sleeping, and walking positions for pain relief. Most of them include stretching which revives the body's lost flexibility.
Going under the blade is not your doctor's first suggestion in case of Ankylosing Spondylitis. It is only recommended if the swelling causes permanent joint damage which needs to be replaced.
Home remedies play an important role in the recovery process. One can use methods like heat or cold compress, baths, and pads to treat the areas of pain and swelling.
In the case of Ankylosing Spondylitis, there is no cure. However medical science has developed certain treatments and medications that can help you decrease your symptoms. The treatment will also aid in fusing and stiffening the bones.
Ankylosing Spondylitis can be a very serious medical condition as it can create complications like:
Yes, as per the guidelines of disability Ankylosing Spondylitis is considered a disability because not only it affects individual locomotion but also hinders daily life activities due to the heavy stiffness, uveitis, and spinal fusion.
One may not be able to sit, walk, or create any movement with discomforting pain.
Yes, in some cases if the inflammation creates any barrier between the jawbones, it may result in stiff jaws, gum infection, dislocation of teeth, etc.
Here is the list of dietary alterations that one can pursue to boost their recovery during Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Here is the list of exercises that can be beneficial for the patient with spondylitis:
Summary: Ankylosing Spondylitis can be described as a medical condition where the patient suffers from inflammation between the spinal joints. This inflammation causes fusing around the bones making it difficult for the patient to move or have a straight posture. Even though there is no cure for the disease, several methods of treatment may help you with pain management.