5 Tips for Fighting Ankylosing Spondylitis Fatigue the Natural Way
6 minute read
Most people are not familiar with the condition ankylosing spondylitis, but they are familiar with arthritis. Arthritis is an umbrella term for several different joint conditions, of which ankylosing spondylitis is one. Unlike most arthritis conditions that attack hips, knees, and hands, this condition attacks the lower spine. As with all other forms of arthritis, inflammation is an underlying factor, and luckily there are anti-inflammatory treatments that can help bring relief.
Ankylosing spondylitis causes pain and discomfort in the lower spine, which can interfere with daily movement and also cause fatigue. Fatigue is one of the most common complaints, and it both contributes to the condition and is a side effect.
Successfully treating the fatigue and bringing relief comes by understanding the cause, which is primarily inflammation. This means that reducing inflammation can bring comfort and improved mobility.
When the tissues in your spine become inflamed, protein-based chemicals are released known as cytokines. These inflammatory markers are released by the immune system, and they have long been known to play a role in tiredness and pain. These chemicals are also released during a cold or flu, which is why the fatigue you feel with ankylosing spondylitis might feel similar to that associated with viral infections.
Many people turn to medications to fight fatigue, and while this helps sometimes, these drugs contain compounds that also promote tiredness such as opiates. Fighting inflammation and fatigue can be done without medications, and the tips below may be the next best step to fighting ankylosing spondylitis and bringing relief from chronic fatigue.
1. Get More Sleep
Fatigue isn’t always exclusively caused by inflammation. Sometimes a lack of sleep can be the cause or at least a contributing factor. The pain and discomfort caused by ankylosing spondylitis can disrupt sleep and cause insomnia. When you can't sleep or frequently wake up in pain, you will wake up tired. By making changes to promote sleep, you can help to prevent and reduce fatigue. The best ways to achieve this include:
♦ Set a specific bedtime and stick to it each night, including weekends.
♦ Do not nap during the day, but take breaks instead.
♦ Take a warm bath before bed.
♦ Regulate the temperature in your bedroom. You don’t want it too cold or too hot.
♦ Try some deep breathing or meditation before bed to promote relaxation.
♦ Use thicker curtains so the sunlight is less likely to wake you early.
2. Watch Your Weight
When you feel tired all the time, you won't feel much like exercising or doing many activities in general. The less active you are, the more likely you are to gain weight.
Being overweight not only adds stress to already aching areas of your body but the stored fat cells trigger additional inflammation. The heavier you are, the less likely it is to move around, which only promotes a more sedentary lifestyle, and a cycle begins.
Keep an eye on the scale and if you notice that you are gaining weight, speak with your doctor. Gentle exercises and a healthy diet can help you get back on the right track. Once you shed a few pounds, you’ll notice the stress and pain of ankylosing spondylitis will be reduced.
3. Get Moving
Exercise not only helps you lose weight, but it also promotes movement, which can fight against inflammation and the pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis. It may seem that moving is the last thing you want to do, but in the long run, it will be beneficial. Exercise protects your bones and strengthens your muscles, and over time your flexibility and energy levels will increase. The key is to start small with walking or swimming then work up to more intense workouts. Not only will you begin to feel more energized, but the pain will be reduced. You will also sleep better so long as the exercise is not done too late in the day.
4. Dietary Changes
Along with exercise, the right diet can support a healthy weight. It can also reduce inflammation. Cutting calories will help achieve weight loss. A nutrient-dense diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats is the best way to lose weight, reduce inflammation, and reduce arthritis pain. Processed foods full of unhealthy fats and refined sugars can aggravate inflammatory-related conditions. It's also recommended to add anti-inflammatory supplements to your diet, such as a high-quality krill oil supplement. The omega-3 fatty acids along with the antioxidant astaxanthin in krill oil, both work to protect you from oxidative damage and inflammation.
5. Check for Anemia
The inflammation associated with ankylosing spondylitis increases your risk for anemia. This condition, marked by a reduced number of red blood cells, causes fatigue along with dizziness, shortness of breath, frequent headaches, and pale skin. Anemia is quickly diagnosed with a blood test, and iron supplements can remedy the situation. Once your red blood cell count is elevated, and oxygen is being effectively transported around your body, you will feel more energized, even with ankylosing spondylitis.
The Bottom Line
The beneficial compounds in krill oil supplements support joint health and have been found to work more effectively than glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. By protecting your joints, reducing harmful inflammation, and by promoting healing, your joints and lower spine can repair from damage. Allowing this damage to heal is what will get you back on your feet, moving around, and back to the daily activities you love.
Arthritis consists of several different versions, but the outcome is always the same. Inflammation of the joint and spine area causes pain, immobility, and often disruption to life. While there is no cure for arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, you can effectively reduce inflammation, which will relieve symptoms. With fatigue being the main symptom of ankylosing spondylitis, treating the inflammation will be the best way to get your energy back.