The exact cause of ankylosing spondylitis is not known, and there’s currently no cure. Treatment focuses on relieving pain and joint stiffness as well as preventing future complications like fused vertebrae.
A combination of exercise, medications, and dietary changes can help manage ankylosing spondylitis. Surgery is usually only required in severe cases.
Keep reading to learn about six treatments used to manage ankylosing spondylitis symptoms.
Low impact exercises and stretching may help ease symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis by strengthening and mobilizing your joints. A physiotherapist can help you develop a personalized exercise program.
Some of the most effective exercises for ankylosing spondylitis include:
- aquatic exercise
- tai chi
- lifting weights
You can find information about specific exercises for managing ankylosing spondylitis on the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) website.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet can potentially help reduce inflammation and alleviate your symptoms. Go here to learn more about the most beneficial ankylosing spondylitis foods.
Foods to eat
- foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
- fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel
- soy, canola, or flaxseed oil
- fruits and veggies
- high fiber foods
Foods to avoid
- highly processed foods
- foods high in added sugar
- high-sodium foods
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the first-line medication for treating ankylosing spondylitis. They help manage pain and inflammation.
According to a
NSAIDs that may be used include:
- Advil, Motrin (ibuprofen)
- Arthrotec (diclofenac and misoprostol)
- Celebrex (celecoxib)
- Indocin (indomethacin)
- Mobic (meloxicam)
- Naprosyn, Aleve (naproxen)
- Voltaren (diclofenac)
DMARDs are drugs that relieve pain and stiffness by decreasing immune activity. They’re widely used to treat arthritis and sometimes used as an alternative to NSAIDs for ankylosing spondylosis.
Their effectiveness is thought to be limited. A
Biological treatments, or biologics, are a type of DMARD created from living organisms.
Seven types of biological treatments are FDA approved to treat ankylosing:
- Tumor necrosis factor blockers
- Interleukin-17 inhibitors
Corticosteroids are a class of drug that decreases inflammation. Corticosteroids injected into an inflamed joint are often prescribed for short-term pain relief. They’re usually limited to three injections per year to minimize the risk of side effects.