Self-Care Tips: Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Like all the other inflammatory diseases or joint conditions, Ankylosing Spondylitis can cause great pain. This health condition can make the bonds in your spine fuse together, causing inflammation and severe pain. While you can’t cure this problem, you can incorporate certain things into your daily routine to relieve symptoms. These activities include doing less strenuous physical activities like yoga, eating healthy, highly nutritious foods like veggies and fruits, and maintaining correct posture.

Here we have mentioned some things that you can include in your daily life and prevent Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms from affecting your life.

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity is essential to live a healthy lifestyle. Despite the stiffness and pain you are feeling, doing some light exercise is important. Ankylosing Spondylitis patients may struggle to perform exercises in the beginning. However, regular exercise, even if just for a few minutes, can help reduce pain and stiffness, allowing them to maintain flexibility.

Occupational or physical therapists will recommend exercises based on your health condition and the severity of your symptoms. Also, if you want to perform easy and simple exercises at home, you can opt for low-impact workout options like swimming and walking. Swimming is an ideal physical activity, as aquatic exercises don’t create as much pressure on your body and increase the range of motion in your joints. If possible, try to swim in warm water. It will reduce inflammation in your bones and joints and increase blood flow.

People who are not afraid to perform unique exercises like yoga and tai chi can opt for those instead. These activities improve flexibility, help lose weight, and improve your symptoms.

Healthy Diet

There is no particular diet that will help patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis. However, some foods can help you fight against inflammation in the joints of your body, while improving your overall health. One of the popular diet options for Ankylosing Spondylitis patients is the Mediterranean diet.

This type of diet includes fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, and fish, and strictly recommends avoiding processed ingredients and saturated fats. Adding nutrient-dense foods to your daily diet makes you much healthier and helps reduce symptoms like swelling and joint pain.

Furthermore, doctors may also recommend you limit your intake of alcohol, red meat, processed food items, and sugary food and drinks that can lead to bloating. Some health experts also recommend patients avoid a low-starch diet, as some people see some relief from it. Discuss your symptoms with a dietitian, they will create a personalized diet plan that can help you reduce your symptoms.

Reduce Your Stress

It isn’t easy to live with the condition that affects your entire body. When struggling with Ankylosing Spondylitis, it’s crucial to work on your mental and physical health. While it is difficult to avoid stress completely, you can find ways to manage your stress. This includes spending some time outside in nature, going for a walk, spending time with friends and family, and having fun with your favorite hobbies.

Also, you can observe the trigger points that elevate your stress. For instance, you might feel more stressed while staying alone. You can work on your stress management by participating in things that reduce, if not prevent, your stress. Some online videos and apps can suggest mindfulness techniques that help put your mind at ease. If you are struggling to reduce your stress, talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help you with your situation.

Apply Cold or Hot Compress

While cold or hot compress doesn’t alleviate your condition completely, it can help reduce its symptoms. Hot and cold compresses help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation, which helps your reduce pain. While opting for a hot compress, you must be careful not to burn yourself. On the other hand, cold compresses are much easier to use.

Some people also opt for heating pads and other products that offer you the same benefits as a cold or hot compress. Ask your doctor to ensure their safety and effect if you want to use them. If you want instant relief, you can try taking a hot bath. This is a perfect option to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Be Careful While Working

Though moving your body is important to prevent stiffness in your joints, you need to set your limits to avoid overworking yourself. Avoid stopping, lifting, and prolonged bending. These actions can cause disc issues common in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

If you feel stressed while working, one option could be requesting an ergonomic workstation from your employer. People working from home can design ergonomic workstations by opting for quality ergonomically made chairs and tables. Also, maintain a proper seating posture while working to avoid back pain. Adjusting the height of your computer monitor or desk accordingly, will help with this. Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes to prevent stiffness in your bones.

Bottom Line

Managing Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms is simple – all you need to do is adopt a healthy lifestyle and make the right decisions. So, while following your health specialist’s guidelines, ensure to incorporate the tips mentioned above in your daily routine. This will help you reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness in your body and allow you to easily perform your daily tasks like house chores and work.

Also, consult dietitians, mental health experts, and physicians on every step who can help make your life less painful.  They will advise you to incorporate activities, food, and exercises that will help you improve your life. While you can design a healthy meal plan or opt for simple physical activities, the wrong decisions can make things much worse. So, getting a professional help is always a must.

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