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Ankylosing Spondylitis, Neurologic Perspective (cont.)

What Is the Neurologic Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

General principles of treatment include the following:

  • Exercise and postural training to strengthen the back and neck and help maintain correct posture
  • Medications to decrease pain and inflammation
  • Diagnosis and treatment of potential complications
  • Smoking cessation

Are There Home Remedies for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Good sleeping posture with a small pillow on a firm mattress in either the supine (lying face upward) position or the prone (lying face downward) position helps in alleviating pain and stiffness in people with ankylosing spondylitis. Heat or cold applications can be helpful. Exercise is essential. This includes yoga for flexibility, physical therapy, and aerobic exercise, all of which can help neck pain from the cervical spine, as well as back pain and function.

What Medications Treat Ankylosing Spondylitis?

The goal of drug therapy is to control pain, decrease inflammation, optimize function, and prevent complications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used medications. NSAIDs reduce pain and flare-ups of inflammation. No particular NSAID, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), has been shown to be clearly superior for treating AS. Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine, Azulfidine EN-tabs, Sulfazine) and corticosteroids are also used.

Recently, biologic agents have been found to be particularly useful in treating AS. Proteins now approved to treat AS that block a chemical messenger of inflammation, tumor necrosis factor, include etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), golimumab (Simponi), and certolizumab (Cimzia). Etanercept, adalimumab, golimumab, and certolizumab are administered as injections. Infliximab is administered as an intravenous infusion. Other biologics for treating adults with ankylosing spondylitis include those that intercept a chemical messenger of inflammation called interleukin 17. An example of one such biologic currently approved for use in adults with ankylosing spondylitis is secukinumab (Cosentyx), which is given by subcutaneous injection. These target the inflammatory disease process directly and may alter the disease course, even causing remission.

For more information, see Understanding Ankylosing Spondylitis Medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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