Ankylosing spondylitis is not the kind of affection that raises too much interest. It becomes important when you actually show signs of having it. No one bothers preventing it, which is a terrible mistake. It is a particular type of arthritis that shares some similar symptoms. Most commonly, you will experience inflammation and pain around the pelvic region and spine.
The bad news is there is no official cure for ankylosing spondylitis. The good news is you can keep it under control with a healthy lifestyle and certain anti-inflammatory treatments. While there are ways to reduce the intensity of the symptoms, plenty of patients make mistakes that will cost them rather sooner than later. You will need to make certain changes to your lifestyle and most importantly, educate yourself.
So, what are the most important things that make ankylosing spondylitis worse than it already is?
Maintaining the Wrong Posture
Since the affection targets the spine, it is imperative to understand what a healthy posture means and adopt it right away. As a general rule of thumb, the body must be perfectly aligned, so it keeps your back muscles straight. Fail to do it and you will end up with even more problems, such as flexion deformity, which involves getting your spine stuck in a certain position.
Maintaining a good posture will alleviate pain. It takes time to practice and it might feel uncomfortable at first, but you have to think about it whether you sit or stand. Shoulders must go back and the back should be straight. If you sit down, your knees should be bent at 90 degrees and the buttocks must touch the back of the chair. Keep feet flat on the ground.
As for standing, the exercise is pretty simple and can be done at home. Practice walking with a book on your head and try to keep it there. This can help you get used to a perfect alignment while you walk.
Working Too Hard
Whether you do it at home or at work, working too hard will make ankylosing spondylitis worse in no time. The affection mostly related to joint pains and inflammation. In other words, your body has some limitations now. At some point, you will no longer be able to do certain things. It is just life, so do not try to push your limits just to prove that you can still do it. You will end up with a burnout due to the extra tension on your joint.
Physical activity is recommended, but within your capabilities or you risk making the disease even harder. Keep it at a good pace and rest whenever you feel like.
Having a Sedentary Lifestyle
While overusing yourself is not the key to keeping ankylosing spondylitis under control, having a sedentary lifestyle will not help either. At times, exercising might feel like a nightmare. Just take it easy and start with a few basic exercises until you get used to them, then keep going up. Physical activity is a must for the flexibility of your joints. It will reduce the pain as well, not to mention clearing stiffness.
Around five sessions a week will help. Even walking is an exercise, so implement it into your daily activities. Do not even think about high impact workouts though, as they will make the disease worse.
Apart from walking, other common activities include biking and swimming. Strength training will also work, but avoid lifting heavy weights. Instead, opt for yoga, tai chi or pilates. If you are not 100% sure about what is right for you, get in touch with your doctor and ask for a few recommendations.
Smoking is responsible for aggravating pretty much any affection you suffer from. Even if you are healthy, it will be one of the causes for one of your future affections. There is literally nothing good about it. Just like you have probably guessed already, it has effects over your ankylosing spondylitis too.
According to recent studies, it seems that smoking will increase the stiffness, as well as the episodes associated with the affection. Your quality of life will improve overnight if you quit the habit. Think about it for a second – smoking has an inflammatory effect or your body. You already suffer from inflammation, so why would you make it even worse?
There are no clinical studies linking smoking to the actual causes of ankylosing spondilitis. It is unknown whether it can actually cause it, but one thing is for sure – it can and will make it worse.
Not Having Enough Sleep
Sleeping can be a nightmare if you suffer from painful episodes. The disease makes falling asleep quite hard. Plus, you are likely to wake up a few times during the night. Despite all these, sleep is the time when your body shuts down. It fixes and repairs tissues and nerves. Therefore, not having enough sleep will make ankylosing spondylitis even worse. It is a vicious circle – the less sleep you have, the harder it will be to fall asleep the next time you hit the bed.
You have to tackle this problem from one end or another – no treatment for the disease, so work on the actual sleep. A memory foam mattress with medium firmness might be the key. It will reduce the pressure by adapting to the shape of your body. Less pillows will also mean a deeper sleep, especially if you are a back or stomach sleeper.
Come up with a relaxing routine before going to sleep too, whether it comes to a warm shower or a good book. Forget about electronics, alcohol, caffeine or heavy meals. They will all contribute to your problem.
As a short final conclusion, there are certain ways to keep ankylosing spondylitis under control, as well as ways to prevent making it worse. Most people overlook such small details, but the truth is that you do need to make some changes into your lifestyle. Otherwise, things will just keep getting worse.