How to do Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain Relief Management Naturally
Ankylosing spondylitis pain relief is one of the most important daily priorities for those who suffer from ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Treatment is the other. While there are many conventional medical approaches to treating AS and relieving the pain, they are not always good for you in the long run.
In this article, I will be discussing how to relieve the pain caused by ankylosing spondylitis and how to treat it naturally. Early detection gives you the best chance of reversing AS. You will also learn which symptoms to look out for so that you can take care of your health and prevent damage.
What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis
In simple terms, it is a progressive inflammatory disease, meaning there is inflammation in the body. Essentially, it is a type of arthritis. In the case of AS, the inflammation is believed to be due to an infection which is progressing. Maybe the inflammation is just affecting the lower joints of the spinal cord, but it can progress to all the joints resulting your spine to become a “bamboo” spine meaning the bones in your spinal cord can become fused together.
Since it is progressive, if the inflammation is not taken control of at the right time, it may progress to affect the other joints of the body. The most damage to the spine occurs within the first 10 years of AS.
Symptoms Of Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Stiffness first thing in the morning
- Lower back pain
- Sciatica (pain along the sciatic nerve running from the lower back into the legs)
- Neck pain
If you are experiencing these symptoms, particularly pain accompanied by stiffness, you should get an MRI, (or X-rays if you are unable to get an MRI) so that treatment can start as soon as possible if you do have AS.
In The Later Stage Of Ankylosing Spondylitis
When the inflammation is not taken care of in the early stages, AS worsens causing worse symptoms. AS is a systematic disease meaning it affects the whole body and can cause secondary symptoms in other areas of the body and not just the spine. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty walking or moving around
- More rarely, pain and stiffness in the ribs, shoulders, hands, knees, or feet
- Also rarely, eyesight can be affected
- Fusing of the spinal cord
- Heart problems
- Problems breathing as the ribs can also fuse
How Does Ankylosing Spondylitis Lead To A Fused Spine
Because the bone and muscles surrounding the spine become damaged due to the inflammation, the body will try to replace the damaged tissue with new tissue just as our cuts are healed or how we grow back skin after scrapes and burns. But with AS, the new tissue ends up becoming bone and this extra bone eventually fuses the spine together.
Causes And Risk Factors For Ankylosing Spondylitis
With autoimmune conditions, there may not be any specific cause other than that it is in your genes, but studies are discovering more and more that there may be contributing factors to triggering autoimmune responses. Some of the things that can increase your risk for AS are:
- Men have a higher risk of developing AS than women but women can still develop AS.
- It usually occurs between late adolescence and early 40's, but it can occur at any age.
- A family history of AS or autoimmune diseases.
- Leaky gut (the intestines become damaged and leak toxins, bacteria, and undigested food into the bloodstream).
Tests For Ankylosing Spondylitis
Tests will usually depend on your symptoms. Some markers that they look for regarding your symptoms are:
- Whether your pain improves with rest or not
- If you have been in pain for more than 3 months
- Whether the pain is due to an injury or not
- If the pain has started gradually before the age of 40
- If stiffness is present and whether it improves with exercise
The following tests will be performed:
1. Imaging Tests (CT, MRI, X-ray)
MRI is very useful for early detection, if you experience any of the earlier symptoms, an MRI is a must. MRI's can pick up on changes in the bone, as well as any inflammation. X-rays are also effective at catching AS early. CT scans are better at detecting and assessing the damage due to later stage AS.
2. Blood Tests
HLA B27 (genetic test)
Over 90% of people who have AS will test positive for the HLA B27 gene, but as you see, not 100% of AS patients test positive. If you test negative for this gene that does not mean that you do not have AS if you have the symptoms of AS. That's why an MRI is so very important.
The HLA-B27 gene test is not a diagnostic of AS, but it can guide us towards a diagnosis. One must understand that HLA-B27 is a gene and not a disease. This gene could be present in anyone and many might never suffer from AS.
Other Blood Tests
Blood tests can also test for inflammation that will present in the body if someone suffers from AS. They don't diagnose AS but they can rule out other conditions to make sure that you receive the correct treatment:
- A complete blood count (CBC)
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
Another test that may be performed is the test for rheumatoid factors (RF) if rheumatoid arthritis is suspected. Blood tests for antibodies (ANA) and cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) may also be performed. Conventional Medication to Treat Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain and their Side Effects Remember, a person loses the life war because of side effects from the medicines, this is the reason I started this website, how to naturally heal the body.
Many people die each year because of the side effects of medication and overdoses. Other patients have a poor quality of life because of medication. Here are some of the most popular medications used to treat AS:
- TNF blockers or antagonists: TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers slow the progression of AS. Though rare, the side effects that can go along with using TNF blockers include an increased risk of cancer and TB (tuberculosis). Some people also have severe allergic reactions to them. Interleukin-17A inhibitor or secukinumab are options too but can lead to respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and exacerbation of other existing health conditions.
- NSAIDs: NSAIDs like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen are effective painkillers, but constantly using them, especially for long periods of time can cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach. Acetaminophen is also one of the major causes of liver failure in America.
- Immunosuppressants: Immunosuppressants help the body to stop attacking itself which is what happens if someone has an autoimmune disease. They do, however, increase the risk of getting infections since the immune system is suppressed. Some infections can be very serious, even deadly. TNF blockers are a type of immunosuppressant medication.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids fight inflammation in the body but can have nasty side effects like swelling in the face, water retention, high blood pressure, and poor diabetes control.
- Surgery: Surgery can be performed if the spine or other bones have been fused. This does work, but there is no guarantee that you will not experience a flare-up of AS again. If you do undergo surgery, be sure to follow the lifestyle tips below and to keep an eye out for returning symptoms.
Anytime you are discussing medication with your doctor, you need to weigh up all your options and see if the benefits outweigh the risks for any treatment plan. When there are other healthy and effective treatments that have little to no side effects, often the conventional medications are not worth it.
NSAIDs can be stopped immediately or you can reduce your dose, but with the other medications, it is best to speak to your doctor before changing the dose or not taking them anymore as reducing your dose or suddenly cutting them out completely can cause more problems if not done correctly.