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Living better with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic, progressive condition with symptoms that can be burdensome, and may lead to difficulties in doing simple daily tasks.
Learning to adapt to the daily challenges posed by Ankylosing Spondylitis can be a tedious, but not impossible task.

Let’s show you how:

Ankylosing Spondylitis management strategy

Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis is a simple process of breaking up or categorizing certain aspects like stress, getting the right support, exercise routines, posture guidelines, lifestyle management and symptom tracking.

Tackling these aspects in your daily life will help you lead a productive and fulfilling life and Fight the Fuse!

Managing anxiety and stress

Dealing with symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis like stiffness, pain and immobility can be stressful. Did you know anxiety is your body’s response to stressful situations?[1]

Here are some hints on managing Ankylosing Spondylitis related stress:[1]

  • Learn to recognize how your body reacts to stress (e.g.,  increased heart rate, lack of sleep, etc.)
  • Pay attention to your emotional needs.
  • Ask for help when required.
  • Work on your relationships by establishing lines of communication.
  • Upgrade your health care habits.
  • Remember to breathe.
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Getting health care support

Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis may be overwhelming at times. It is important that you are connected with your Rheumatologist who will help you overcome treatment related doubts and anxieties.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while contacting your Rheumatologist:

  • Before you call for an appointment, keep the contact details handy.
  • Prior to your appointment, write down your questions.
  • Remember to jot down your answers during your conversation.
  • Ensure that you meet or consult with your Rheumatologist at regular intervals.
Getting Healthcare Support Thumb

Tips on lifestyle

Ankylosing Spondylitis has an impact on every aspect of life. Learning to cope with the symptoms by making small changes in your lifestyle will go a long way towards better management.

Here are a few lifestyle tips to help you cope:[2]

  • Accept yourself and your condition.
  • Learn to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule.
  • Practice mindfulness and breathing.
  • Maintain the right posture at all times.
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet.
  • Stay connected with loved ones and friends.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
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Get moving

Exercise, along with the right treatment will enable you to manage your symptoms better. Exercise can be done anywhere - in the gym, in a park or even at home. Your Rheumatologist or Physiotherapist will be able to help you with selecting the exercises that will work best for you.

Here are some tips to help you plan the right exercise schedule:[3]

  • Follow the right routine:
    • Ensure that your exercise routine incorporates a warm-up and a cool down in addition to flexibility, mobility, breathing and strengthening exercises.
  • Learn the right way of doing exercise.
  • Maintain good posture at all times while exercising.
  • Try different exercise routines to ensure variety.
  • Avoid overdoing exercises. Stop if you feel breathless or light-headed.
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Practicing good posture

Posture is an often overlooked aspect of Ankylosing Spondylitis management. Be mindful of maintaining a correct posture at all times – while working, sleeping, exercising or leisure.

Here are some tips to help you with your posture:

  • Right posture at work to minimize discomfort and pain:[4]
    • Choose the right chair and desk.
    • Keep your feet flat on the ground and your monitor at eye level.
    • Take breaks regularly.
  • Right posture while exercising to prevent injuries and reduce pain:[3]
    • Be aware of your posture while exercising.
    • Maintain a neutral spine at all times.
  • Right posture while sleeping to minimize stiffness and pain:[5]
    • Use a firm mattress to support your spine and joints.
    • Use a pillow that supports your neck.
  • Right posture during leisure activities for better management:[6]
    • Use comfortable, straight backed chairs. Avoid slouching.
    • Avoid lifting heavy objects.
Practicing Good Posture

Track your symptoms

Tracking your symptoms will help you and your Rheumatologist decipher the progression of your condition more accurately. It can also help you have a more meaningful conversation with your Rheumatologist.

Here are 4 steps to be 'Symptom Aware':

  • Step 1:  Assess your symptoms every week.
  • Step 2: Think of your symptom severity over the past week.
  • Step 3: Fill in the symptom tracker.
  • Step 4: Connect with your Rheumatologist if you find symptoms are worsening.
Track Your Symptoms Thumb

Managing Ankylosing Spondylitis is a lifelong process. It is up to you to take this up as a challenge and pledge to live better with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Through this toolkit, we hope to focus on small lifestyle tips and tweaks that can make a big difference to your life.

Know more about ‘Living Better with AS’.
Download our toolkit today

Ask your Rheumatologist for biologics that slow down spinal fusion.

You may want to read

Lifestyle Changes

Daily Exercise Routine

Posture Management

References

  1. Healthline. Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety. Available [Online] at: https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety Accessed on 9th April 2020

  2. NAAS. Top tips for managing your AS. Available [Online] at: https://nass.co.uk/about-as/new-to-as/top-tips/ Accessed on 8th April 2020

  3. Back to Action. NAAS. Available [Online] at: https://nass.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Back-to-Action-low-resolution-version.pdf Accessed on 7 May 2019

  4. NHS. How to sit at your desk correctly. Available [Online] at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-sit-correctly/ Accessed on 16 April 2020

  5. Arthritis health. How to Sleep Better if You Have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Available [Online] at: https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/how-sleep-better-if-you-have-ankylosing-spondylitis Accessed on 16 April 2020

  6. Spine universe. Ankylosing Spondylitis and Posture. Available [Online] at: https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spinal-arthritis/ankylosing-spondylitis/ankylosing-spondylitis-posture Accessed on 16 April 2020

Ankylosing SpondyliTIPS

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