How can Healthy Lifestyle Curb the Progression of Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an irreversible, inflammatory and autoimmune disease that affects the spine. Your spine bones can overgrow and fuse together resulting in a rigid spine that damages your posture in the long run. AS primarily affects your spine, but in some cases, it may also impact bones of your neck, back, inner thighs and hips. Early action for diagnosis and treatment is crucial for AS. The symptoms of this condition have a tendency to exacerbate to the point where you may lose the ability to lift your head to look forward or worse, become wheelchair-bound.1
The treatment for AS involves medications and therapies that help prevent the condition from worsening. The aim is to curb the symptoms. But apart from medications and therapies, there is a need to modify and incorporate lifestyle changes in your life if you’re suffering from AS. Self-care is a crucial component of ankylosing spondylitis treatment. Learn more about possible lifestyle changes you can adopt that suits you in the best way:
We know that your pain may be unbearable at times, but exercise will only do you more good than harm. It is important to remain flexible, especially for your inflamed joints. Your doctor or physical therapist will help you chalk out the right exercise plan that works best for your age, gender and body health. Yoga is another great option to explore as a mode of exercise, as it works wonders for your flexibility.
Benefits of exercise:
- Enhances flexibility to make everyday tasks easier
- Increases range of movement
- Enables better posture and reduces feelings of self-consciousness
- Exercise can ease pain at night and improve sleep quality
Stretch Your Way to Good Postures3
Stretching and maintaining the perfect posture is very important for patients with AS. Stretching exercises will help ease your pain and give you relief from stiffness, especially after a shower. A good posture will go a long way in preventing your pain from worsening. Here are a few tips to attain it:
- Adjust the height of the computer monitor or desk so that the screen is at eye level.
- Plant your feet firmly on the ground.
- Avoid staying in cramped or bent positions.
- Alternate between standing and sitting, and use a cushion to support your back.
- Be careful of “texting neck” when cell phone use is constant.
Start an Anti-inflammatory Diet2
When it comes to ankylosing spondylitis, a healthy diet is a very important part of your treatment. Many experts recommend an anti-inflammatory diet or a Mediterranean diet for overall health. Such diets reduce inflammation as well as your risk for heart disease. An anti-inflammatory diet mainly consists of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as moderate amounts of grains and lentils. Avoid sugar, trans fats, red meat, processed foods, and fast food items.
Try to keep track of your food habits and make sure your new diet does not have any interactions with your current medication. Consult your doctor before starting anything new. Maintain a healthy weight with the help of nutritious eating habits.
Bid Goodbye to Stress2
Stress is a known precursor of inflammation. And when you’re already battling with AS, you don’t want to increase it by stressing yourself out. While you can’t skip all your commitments and responsibilities, you can find ways to reduce stress every day. Even a few minutes a day can help. Here are some simple ways by which you can help yourself de-stress:
- Meditate daily
- Take up yoga.
- Spend time in nature.
- Read a book or two.
- Journal about your day.
Fatigue is a part and parcel of ankylosing spondylitis. You will be tired most of the time, and not to mention, in pain from the inflammation inside. Go easy on yourself and fix up a sleep schedule. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (~8-9 hours), according to your age. Sleep is important and the lack of it will only cause the inflammation to exacerbate. Plus, a lack of sleep can lead to reduced exercise, more stress, and poor eating choices.
Stop Drinking and Smoking3
This one should be pretty obvious. Alcohol makes your inflammation worse and is generally good to be avoided. Smoking is a greater evil, especially if you have AS. You won’t have healthy ribs after a while due to the disease, so if you’re a smoker, breathing will become difficult. Smoking worsens your health and helps in the progression of AS. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do, make an appointment with your doctor and ask for help in quitting the habit.
It is wise to work hand in hand with your condition since we cannot cure it completely. Stay in touch with your doctors constantly. AS makes your life a little difficult, but stay true to your treatment regimen and incorporate good, balanced, and healthy lifestyle habits to enjoy living with a chronic condition.
- A healthy lifestyle can curb the progression of ankylosing spondylitis. Check out. Accessed on 23 January 2020.
- 5 self-care tips for ankylosing spondylitis. Check out. Accessed on 23 January 2020.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis. Check out. Accessed on 23 January 2020.