Five common spondylitis misconceptions

If you’ve been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a condition causing inflammation in the spine, you probably have a lot of questions. For many patients, this condition can seem especially confusing because this type of arthritis, which often affects the spine, is neither widely known nor well understood.

The spine experts at Laser Spine Institute encourage you to learn as much as you can about your condition. Being well informed is one of the best ways to ensure you will make the most beneficial treatment decisions. As you research, take note of five common misconceptions about ankylosing spondylitis.

Misconception one: ankylosing spondylitis is rare

Even though you may not have heard the name before, ankylosing spondylitis occurs more often than you may think, affecting up to 1.4 percent of the population. It is the most common condition among a group of rheumatic disorders known as spondyloarthropathies, all of which cause chronic joint problems.

Misconception two: ankylosing spondylitis only affects the spine

While chronic back pain is the most common symptom that leads to a diagnosis, ankylosing spondylitis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the digestive system, eyes (uveitis), skin (in the form of psoriasis), kidneys and aortic valve of the heart.

Misconception three: resting is the best way to manage ankylosing spondylitis pain

Low-impact physical activity may help you feel better, instead of worse. Research confirms that most spondylitis patients who regularly perform a series of strengthening, stretching and respiratory exercises are able to reduce stress and fatigue, improve their posture and achieve an overall better quality of life.

Misconception four: taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will upset your stomach

NSAIDs are the most common pain medication recommended during early stages of the condition. When taken under the supervision of a doctor, it is possible to minimize the risk of side effects like heartburn.

Misconception five: ankylosing spondylitis always requires spinal fusion surgery

Surgery may be necessary to correct deformities, such as severe spinal curvatures, and there is always a chance of recurring spondylitis. However, some cases do not progress to the point that surgery is required. A conservative treatment plan that includes both exercise and medication is typically effective for managing symptoms and recapturing your life from this debilitating condition.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute for help

While Laser Spine Institute does not offer minimally invasive spine surgery to treat ankylosing spondylitis, we can help you find treatment options, either conservative or surgical, to relieve some of the associated pain. Contact our dedicated team today so we can help you move to the next step on your journey to wellness.