Things Rheumatologists Want You to Know About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Exercise Is Good for You
You might think that rest is better than movement when it comes to easing an aching body, but physical activity can actually help manage ankylosing spondylitis symptoms. “Exercise is a critical part of maintaining healthy joints and a healthy body,” says Anca Askanase, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist and director of rheumatology clinical trials at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. When combined with biologics known as TNF inhibitors, exercise can even lower ankylosing spondylitis activity, according to research published in the December 2015 issue of the journal Medicine. Dr. Sergent recommends people do exercises that don’t involve twisting the neck or back. Consider working with a physical therapist to learn the best exercises for you.
AS Needs a Lot of Attention
Treatments can allow a fully functional life, but you have to work at ankylosing spondylitis management because the condition never goes away. “It can be hard for people with ankylosing spondylitis to understand that arthritis is, in the absence of a cure, a chronic condition that needs to be managed all the time,” Dr. Askanase says. “The medications are chronic medications, [and] the condition is likely to recur if meds are stopped.” In addition to taking AS medications as prescribed and anti-inflammatory drugs as needed, be sure to monitor your weight, diet, and alcohol consumption, and follow healthy lifestyle habits that can help you better manage the condition.