Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of inflammatory arthritis that mostly impacts the spine and causes stiffness and persistent discomfort. The hips, and shoulders, are a few of the body’s other joints that may be affected. Spinal deformity brought on by Ankylosing spondylitis can make it difficult to move and breathe.
Despite the fact that there is no treatment for AS, physiotherapy can be quite effective in treating its symptoms. We’ll talk about the causes, signs, and effects of AS in this blog post, as well as how physiotherapy can benefit persons who have the illness.
Causes and Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Because Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disorder, the body’s immune system unintentionally targets healthy tissue. When it comes to AS, this results in inflammation of the spine’s joints and ligaments, which causes discomfort and stiffness. Although the precise origin of AS is unknown, genetic and environmental factors are considered to play a role.
Back pain is the most typical sign of ankylosing spondylitis, and it frequently gets worse in the morning and after periods of inactivity. Other signs include weariness, decreased movement, and spine stiffness. As the vertebrae in the spine fuse together in severe cases of AS, it becomes more difficult to move and breathe.
Physiotherapy Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Improvements in mobility, pain relief, and the prevention of additional spinal degeneration can all be achieved with the use of physiotherapy in managing the symptoms of AS. Physiotherapy can benefit persons with AS in the following ways:
Exercise can assist to increase flexibility, decreasing stiffness, and strengthen the muscles that support the spine, which are all important aspects of controlling AS. The physiotherapist can customize an exercise plan based on the patient’s needs, taking into account their level of mobility and any additional medical conditions they might have.
Walking, cycling and other forms of aerobic exercise can assist to strengthen the heart and lower inflammation in the body. Strength training exercises like weightlifting and resistance band work can strengthen the back muscles and improve posture. Stretching and other flexibility activities, like yoga, can assist to loosen up the spine and expand its range of motion.
In manual therapy, therapists use hands-on methods to ease pain and increase mobility. Stretching, joint mobilization and massage may all be part of this. A physiotherapist can utilize manual therapy to lessen discomfort and inflammation while also enhancing the mobility of the spine and other troubled joints.
Education and Self-Management Strategies
In order to help patients control their pain and lower the risk of further spinal damage, physiotherapists can educate patients about the condition and teach them self-management techniques.
This might include guidance on ergonomics, daily actions including lifting and bending, and posture. A physiotherapist can also offer advice on pain-relieving methods like heat and cold therapy and breathing exercises.
Assistive devices like braces and mobility aids may be useful for some AS patients in managing their symptoms. A physiotherapist can evaluate the patient’s requirements and suggest the best assistive equipment to help the patient move more freely and experience less pain.