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Treating Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Although there is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, there are treatments available to relieve the symptoms caused.

 

As a condition, ankylosing spondylitis is painful, whereby the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed, including the eyes. Over time, the condition can cause some of the vertebrae in the spine to fuse together, which makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched posture. If the ribs are affected, it can be incredibly difficult to breathe deeply. Further research is required in order to understand why this happens and to also find a cure, however, there are treatments currently available to sufferers, which can either help to prevent or delay the progression of ankylosing spondylitis, or relieve sufferers of the pain caused by it. In this blog post, we discuss the current options available for patients.

Ankylosing spondylitis tends to develop in the teenage and young adult years. It is also three times more common in men than in women. Early signs and symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, particularly in the morning and after periods of inactivity.

Over time, symptoms tend to develop gradually and may vary in severity from time to time. For some, the condition gets better with time. For others, it can slowly become worse. Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse the damage caused by the condition. However, treatments may help to make life much more bearable with the condition.

In most cases, sufferers will receive a combination of the following treatments:

  • Exercises carried out individually or in groups to reduce pain and stiffness
  • Physiotherapy whereby massage and manipulation are used to improve comfort and spinal flexibility, while easing muscle spasms
  • Medication to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation; for example, painkillers, anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) medication, and other forms of biological therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help in some cases, where the condition is causing depression or low mood swings
  • Surgery is sometimes recommended to repair significantly damaged joints or correct severe bends in the spine, however, this is not common

Living with a chronic condition, such as ankylosing spondylitis, may mean that sufferers are often too tired to spend time with family and friends, or participate in certain activities, such as sports and other hobbies. Symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, may also impact on the ability to work or attend college or university.

As a result, sufferers may feel isolated, which can further complicate problems. Joining a support network or exercise group or taking up a new hobby can help. Studies have also shown that getting a new pet can benefit chronic pain sufferers in some cases.

At Brian Barr Solicitors, we are in your corner. We are specialist solicitors in claiming compensation for those with chronic pain conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis, that have developed as a result of a trauma, accident or injury. Our experienced and understanding team will help make you feel quickly at ease and fully supported throughout. If you would like to find out more about how we can help call us for free on 0161 737 9248 or click here to fill in our online contact form.

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