What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing Spondylitis (“AS”) is also known as Mari Struempell disease or Bechterew’s disease. This is an inflammatory arthritis that results in fusion of the spine, pelvis and sacral joints. It can affect other joints in the body as well. Spondylitis is defined as inflammation of the joints of the body. When AS forms on bones, it begins to grow more bone and eventually fuse the joints together causing pain, stiffness and decreased movement in the body.
Joint pain in the low back is the most common symptom but may be ignored and called “growing pains” because signs and symptoms can occur at 15 years of age or younger. Other symptoms are
1. Stiffness especially in the morning in the Sacroiliac joint and spine,
2. Aches in low back which interrupt sleep
3. Pain that goes down the legs and groin area
4. Pain in the morning, after waking up
5. Aches in buttock, neck, shoulders, hips and upper back
6. Weight loss and fatigue
7. Eye inflammation, heart, lung, nervous system, bowel dysfunction
8. An increase of the curve of the thoracic spine may occur.
What can be done to decrease the symptoms of AS?
A. Flexibility exercises to keep the muscles and tissues moving as much as possible.
B. Keep weight within normal limits to keep the strain off of the joints of the body
C. Avoid quick movements which may inflame the body
D. When pain and stiffness occur, use heat.
E. Swimming, yoga and pilates is the best exercise for AS
F. Omega 3 rich diet.
What can your doctor do to help with this problem?
1. X-rays can show fusion of the joints to confirm the diagnosis of AS
2. Assist with an exercise program to keep mobility and correct posture
3. Massage and muscle therapy included in the treatment plan to increase flexibility
Keeping proper movement and flexibility in your body can drastically decrease the affects of AS. Chiropractic care that incorporates soft tissue work can keep you healthy and functioning at the highest level possible.
This was presented by Dr. Amie Gregory, D.C. of Precise Moves Chiropractic in Redwood City, CA