What is AS?! - Ankylosing Spondlyitis
Are you sore all over? Worried that you’re over-reacting? – you could be suffering from ANKYLOSING SPONDLYITIS.
Do you wake up in the morning sore and stiff? Maybe in your hips or back or neck. Is it worse whenever you stop and rest and better when you move? Are you worried that you’re acting way older than your age or that you’re over-reacting because you can’t think of any incident that has set this pain off? You may be suffering from a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis.
A big name for an inflammatory disorder that affects joints and ligaments (mainly the spine and hips) and may lead to increasing stiffness of your body. AS tends to affect males more than females in the broad range of 15-45years of age. An inflammatory disorder means the affected areas have an increased blood flow to them and alongside this we often get new bone growth. Bone growth in these areas grow around the joints which can lead to more permanent stiffness, which is why regular movement is so important in this condition!
The good and bad news:
AS has no cure. HOWEVER, it is very well managed once you know that you have it.
Activity is paramount to patients with AS – rest will not help and will make things worse, which can be counter-intuitive when you are feeling sore and stiff.
Keeping the spine flexible and strong can prevent progression of stiffness.
A healthy, non-processed diet is very important
Medications can help (see a rheumatologist)
SO what do you do if you suspect you may have AS?
Chat to your physio/GP/health professional to bounce the idea off them first and to clear any other potential causes and to come up with a PLAN!
You may need to get a blood test to check your ‘inflammatory markers’
You can see a rheumatologist (will need a referral from your GP for this)
Start a pilates/physio program to keep your spine flexible and to work on your posture (this can prevent it worsening)
Work on a healthy diet and weight loss (if needed), stop smoking.
Pilates is most commonly recommended because it combines flexibility, strength, weight-loss and postural re-training all in one. This is something that will be ongoing for you, not a short stint. I prefer recommending reformer pilates as they are generally run 1:1 and can cater towards your needs on the day.
It is important to remember that whilst it may sound scary that this is a condition that has no cure that it is very manageable. Basically, a healthy lifestyle will help you manage this condition very well. If you are unsure, need someone to talk to or want to discuss your options, please feel free to call and make a time to see me.
I hope this puts your mind at ease :)
Do you think that you might have AS, or does any of this sound like you? Book in to see one of our physio's today to get checked out. Book online here, or call us on (08) 9448 2994.