Five ankylosing spondylitis treatment methods

Ankylosing spondylitis is an uncommon form of progressive arthritis that can cause your spinal joints to become inflamed and swollen and even fuse the vertebrae together in severe cases. Over time, your spinal flexibility may gradually decline, which can result in an unnatural spinal curvature that leads to a hunched-forward posture. If you have ankylosing spondylitis and are exploring treatment options, a doctor can help you understand your condition and recommend ways to manage your back pain and stiffness.

The precise causes of ankylosing spondylitis remain unclear, but researchers believe that genetics may play a role in its development. Specifically, evidence suggests that the presence of a certain gene coupled with an environmental factor, such as a bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal system, can trigger ankylosing spondylitis in some individuals. Read on for an overview of what treatment options may relieve your ankylosing spondylitis symptoms.

Conservative treatments for ankylosing spondylitis

As researchers continue to work on finding a cure for this condition, most current ankylosing spondylitis treatment options focus on symptom relief. Some conservative approaches that many people find to be effective in managing the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include:

  1. Over-the-counter and prescription medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the cornerstone of treatment for most patients. If NSAIDs prove to be insufficient, a doctor may prescribe a second-line medication such as a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) or a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker.
  2. Exercise. Daily exercise can improve posture, enhance spinal flexibility, strengthen core muscles and reduce pain. It’s best to work with a physical therapist or trainer who is experienced in helping patients who have been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis.
  3. Hot and cold therapy. Applying heat to stiff joints and sore muscles can promote relaxation, boost circulation and prevent spasms. Applying a cold compress to inflamed areas can reduce swelling and create a numbing effect.
  4. Chiropractic care. Through spinal manipulation, a chiropractor can sometimes help alleviate painful swelling, restore proper spinal alignment and reduce pressure on the spinal joints.
  5. Habit changes. Habits like maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a nutritious diet and getting enough sleep can improve not only your ankylosing spondylitis symptoms but also your overall health.

Surgical treatment for ankylosing spondylitis

In the most advanced cases of ankylosing spondylitis, treatment options may include surgery to address kyphosis, which is an exaggerated rounding of the back, and to provide some measure of spinal mobility. Although Laser Spine Institute does not provide minimally invasive surgery to treat ankylosing spondylitis, contact our dedicated team today to learn about the treatment options available to you. We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.