What an Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosis Means For You + Natural Relief
7 minute read
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that specifically targets your lower spine. It’s commonly overlooked as many people attribute the back pain to something else. Awareness of ankylosing spondylitis and what to look for is the best way to seek help.
Once diagnosed, the condition can be treated, and you can return to a life of pain-free movements. What matters to the success of your treatment is getting it properly diagnosed.
Diagnosing Ankylosing Spondylitis
If you experience lower back pain that isn’t the result of an injury, this should be cause for concern. If the pain doesn’t go away after the usual treatments of pain medications, ice, and rest, then you could be looking at ankylosing spondylitis.
This spinal arthritis can start at any age and is not limited to older individuals. Unfortunately, many people ignore the symptoms and attribute them to something else, so diagnoses can often take a long time.
While you should take your concerns for spinal pain to your regular doctor, the best person to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis is a rheumatologist. These doctors specialize in musculoskeletal conditions as well as autoimmune conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and joints.
If you do not have a rheumatologist, then visit your doctor to get a referral. Make sure your doctor understands all your symptoms clearly, so they can make sure you get to the right place for diagnosis.
Discussing everything with your doctor is important. Your doctor needs to know your history to establish that the back pain is inflammatory or mechanical. You also need to let your doctor know if there is a family history of ankylosing spondylitis or any other inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Be sure to discuss all your pain and symptoms, as this is the best way for your doctor to decide if you need a visit to the rheumatologist.
A rheumatologist will also take note of your health and family history in addition to performing exams and doing bloodwork. They will also need to take images of your lower spine to make an accurate diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. When talking to your rheumatologist, there will be certain signs they will be looking for that indicate this condition:
♦ Lower back and hip pain that is chronic and not resulting from an injury
♦ Stiffness in the morning for about thirty minutes
♦ Stiffness and pain that wakes you in the night or early morning
♦ Radiation of pain into the buttocks
♦ Symptoms that improve with moderate exercise
After tests, exams, and imaging, if your rheumatologist diagnoses ankylosing spondylitis, then you will move on to discussing treatment options. As with all forms of arthritis, this condition cannot be cured, but it can be effectively treated to help you live and move more comfortably.
Anti-inflammatory medications are typically prescribed in addition to physical therapy to help strengthen joints and surrounding muscles. In rare cases, surgery may be needed.
Anti-inflammatory medications will work to reduce pain and stiffness, but not all people can tolerate taking these medications long term. Prolonged use of anti-inflammatory drugs has been known to cause unpleasant side effects.
So what can you do for controlling inflammation and reducing ankylosing spondylitis pain? As it happens, nature offers many natural anti-inflammatory compounds that you can try.
High-quality krill oil supplements contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that protect against oxidative damage as well as inflammation. DHA, in particular, is the omega-3 that works to reduce inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory chemicals.
Krill oil supplements are preferred over fish oil because they don’t leave the fishy aftertaste, and you get more omega-3 content in a smaller capsule. Krill oil has been clinically proven to relieve joint pain and stiffness in arthritis patients and those with ankylosing spondylitis.
Free radicals that are produced as part of your body’s metabolic processes can damage cells and trigger inflammation. The antioxidant properties of omega-3s found in krill oil help to protect your spine by fighting these free radicals.
Curcumin is the critical compound in the spice turmeric that provides healing benefits. This spice has been used for centuries to treat inflammatory conditions like asthma, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disorders.
It’s also been proven useful for reducing inflammation and swelling associated with all forms of arthritis, by specifically reducing the levels of inflammatory markers. As a result, turmeric or curcumin can help relieve pains caused by ankylosing spondylitis.
Because curcumin has a low bioavailability, it is best when combined with piperine (black pepper) to ensure optimal absorption.
Commonly added to both sweet and savory meals for extra flavor, ginger also possesses powerful healing properties. Gingerol and zingerone are two compounds found in ginger known to reduce inflammation associated with colitis, diabetes, and arthritis.
Ginger also helps to reduce inflammation and soreness directly after exercise, and this can help as an additional treatment for ankylosing spondylitis. Light exercise and resistance training is a great way to improve spine and muscle strength, which reduces pain and improves mobility.
Taking ginger will ensure that you have reduced inflammation during and after exercise.
This antioxidant is found in grapes and blueberries as well as red wine. Resveratrol has been used to successfully treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, colitis, gastritis, and heart disease.
Resveratrol specifically targets and inhibits the actions of inflammatory chemicals, and supports weight loss, improved blood glucose levels, and arthritis relief. Losing weight and controlling inflammation is beneficial to improving pain as well as the immobility associated with ankylosing spondylitis.
The Bottom Line
Ankylosing spondylitis is a common form of arthritis that is often overlooked. A number of things can cause back pain, but if it doesn’t go away with rest, and it radiates to other areas, you may have ankylosing spondylitis.
Speak with your doctor and a rheumatologist about your concerns and if diagnosed, know that you can improve symptoms and pain by adding some natural anti-inflammatory supplements to your daily routine.