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Ankylosing Spondylitis

10 Ways to Prevent Long-Term Joint Damage from Ankylosing Spondylitis

8. Get Good Sleep to Reduce Inflammation

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Fatigue is a common problem for people with ankylosing spondylitis. While a restful, restorative night of sleep can help both physically and mentally, lack of sleep boosts inflammation in the body, according to a research review published in July 2016 in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Sleep on a firm mattress on your stomach or back, manage pain with medications and other techniques, and keep a regular sleep-wake schedule, the SAA recommends. Avoiding caffeine and drinking more water may also lead to better sleep.

9. Use Adaptive Devices to Reduce Strain on Your Joints

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There are many tools that can help you perform daily tasks while easing the strain on your spine and protecting your joints. A shoehorn with a long handle, for example, can make it easier to slip on shoes. Extra-wide side-view mirrors on your car can make it easier for you to see without straining. (Adjust your headrest for additional support.) Raised seats or cushions can make it easier to get down and up from chairs. Work with an occupational therapist, who can recommend adaptive devices that will be most beneficial for you.

10. Communicate With Your Doctor

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If you’re not sleeping well, aren’t able to exercise, or are in any way suffering because of your symptoms, talk with your doctor. Work together on a medication plan as well as additional lifestyle changes to preserve your joint health and function. Your doctor can also help you find emotional support by pointing you toward a support group or other resources to help you cope with the mental effects of living with ankylosing spondylitis.

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