5. Not taking medication as directed

There’s no cure for AS, so you may require ongoing medication to manage symptoms. Your doctor will recommend a medication and dosage based on your individual condition. It’s important to take your medication as directed to slow disease progression, so don’t skip doses.

If you feel that your medication isn’t improving your condition, speak with your doctor. You may need to adjust your dosage or take a different type of medication.

6. Being overweight

Being overweight may also worsen symptoms of AS. Excess weight can put too much pressure on your joints and raise your pain level. As well, obesity is associated with increased inflammation. Adding physical activity to your schedule can help you shed excess pounds. You should also modify your diet.

Reduce your intake of processed foods, sugary foods, and fatty foods, which can inflame your body. Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats like nuts and avocados.

7. Lack of sleep

Sleeping is hard when you’re in pain. You may have trouble falling asleep, or you may wake up frequently throughout the night. Sleep is how your body repairs itself, so lack of sleep may worsen AS symptoms.

To reduce nighttime pain and boost sleep, you may need to get a mattress that provides more comfort and support, such as a medium-firm mattress. Limit the number of pillows you sleep with to lessen neck pain during the night.

Also, develop a bedtime routine that encourages sleep. Take a hot bath or shower before bed, and turn off the TV and other electronic devices about one hour before going to bed. Such measures will help to prevent overstimulation.

Avoid alcohol or caffeine before bed, and don’t eat large meals two to three hours before you hit the hay. You should also create a comfortable sleep environment. Keep your room temperature cool, turn off all lights, and create a quiet environment as best you can (a white noise machine can help block out noises).

8. Chronic stress

Stressful situations may also unknowingly worsen symptoms of AS. Stress triggers the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which send your body into fight-or-flight mode.

This increases your blood pressure and heartbeat, and stress hormones stimulate your immune system to release cytokines (a chemical in your body that causes inflammation). Chronic stress can keep your body in an inflammatory state and worsen AS.

To manage stress and reduce inflammation:

  • practice deep breathing exercises and meditation to relax your mind and body
  • learn how to say “no”
  • reduce your personal obligations
  • get more rest
  • talk about your problems with a friend
  • distract yourself with a fun activity whenever you’re feeling stressed out
  • set reasonable goals for yourself
  • spend time in nature
  • adopt a pet

The takeaway

Symptoms of AS can be mild or severe. Depending on the severity of your condition, everyday activities can become challenging during a flare. Although medication can help you feel better, you should also make lifestyle changes to help improve your prognosis and enjoy life to the fullest.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: