Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis is aimed to relieve pain, preserve joint mobility and prevent deformity of the spine.

Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis includes:

Medical Treatment

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are used to relieve pain.
  • Corticosteroid therapy such as prednisone reduces inflammation.
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors like etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab and golimumab can be used if painkillers, exercise and stretching are not enough to control the ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like sulfasalazine or methotrexate are prescribed if other joints in the body are affected.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment comes into play when the joints are severely affected and the patient has no relief with medical treatment.

The types of surgery used in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis are -

  • Joint replacement surgery - This is a surgical operation, where the affected joint is removed and replaced by suitable artificial joint structures.
  • Lumbar spinal osteotomy - This surgery is done to correct the permanently bent posture of the patient in advanced stages of ankylosing spondylitis.

Exercise / Physiotherapy

Exercise and physiotherapy is essential in reducing symptoms of patients with ankylosing spondylitis.

  • Physiotherapy - Physiotherapy is aimed to relieve pain, mobilize joints, minimize deformity and to regain fitness in individuals affected with ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Hydrotherapy - Hydrotherapy is a treatment where exercises are performed under water to relieve pain and to aid better movement.
  • Breathing exercises - Breathing exercises improve the lung capacity and help the person to breathe effectively and without any difficulty. It also aids in relaxation of both mind and body.
  • Spinal exercises - Spinal exercises help in better mobility of the lower back, chest and pelvic regions, and ease joint stiffness.
  • Hot packs - Specialized fabric packs are immersed into hot water of moderate and bearable temperature and are placed over the painful areas to relieve pain.