Ankylosing Spondylitis (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis focuses on relieving pain and stiffness, reducing inflammation, keeping the condition from getting worse, and enabling you to continue daily activities. Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce pain, stiffness, inflammation, and deformity.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment approach for your condition. A consultation with a rheumatologist is often recommended, especially to confirm the diagnosis and lay out a treatment plan. Your family medicine physician or internist can treat mild cases, or you may be referred to a rheumatologist, orthopedist, or physiatrist.
Initial treatment for ankylosing spondylitis may include:
Talk with your doctor about your job. People who have ankylosing spondylitis feel better if they stay active and exercise regularly. So a job that is physically demanding—such as a job that requires lots of heavy lifting—could increase your symptoms.
If initial treatment does not sufficiently reduce the pain and inflammation linked with ankylosing spondylitis, and as your condition progresses, ongoing treatment may include:
Your doctor will treat complications of ankylosing spondylitis as they occur. For example, iritis may be treated with medicines that can help reduce inflammation of the eye, such as corticosteroids and mydriatic eyedrops.
Treatment if the condition gets worse
In rare cases, you may need surgery to replace joints that are severely damaged by the inflammation of ankylosing spondylitis. The most common surgery done is hip replacement surgery. Spine surgery is done in a very small number of people who have ankylosing spondylitis. If there is loosening of the top two vertebrae in the neck and there are signs of pressure on the spinal cord such as numbness or clumsiness in the hands or arms, a surgeon may permanently join (fuse) the two vertebrae together. In very rare cases, spinal surgery may be done to straighten a part of the spine that has become severely curved, but the surgery is risky and cannot restore motion.
Because ankylosing spondylitis is a lifelong condition, other treatment may include complementary and alternative medicine therapies, which can reduce symptoms, help manage pain, and improve quality of life. Complementary and alternative medicine is the term for a wide variety of health care practices that may be used along with or in place of standard medical treatment. These therapies may include yoga and acupuncture.
Even if your symptoms are under control, you should see your doctor (often a rheumatologist) every year to watch for and treat any complications. People with hip symptoms and perhaps those whose disease started in their teens may be at risk for a more severe progression of ankylosing spondylitis.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies