Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritic condition which affects the spine and large joints of your body adversely. It makes you suffer from pain, stiffness, fatigue, and discomfort, thereby deteriorating your quality of life. Many individuals are not aware of this condition appropriately and there are several misconceptions about it, as there exist many myths about ankylosing spondylitis among the people. So, it is important to learn what the myths about ankylosing spondylitis are and know the truth. Read on to know the myths and facts about ankylosing spondylitis.
Some people think ankylosing spondylitis is rare, which is a myth itself, but, believe me, it’s not. Ankylosing spondylitis is the most common inflammatory rheumatic disease. It affects the areas where ligaments and tendons meet the bone. Typically, it affects the joints in the spine, but it may also affect the hips, knees, and eyes. The exact causes of ankylosing spondylitis are not yet known, but it is considered as an autoimmune disease. And, the tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. In most of the patients of ankylosing spondylitis, HLA-B27 gene is found in their blood.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) can be managed, but myths about this condition still persist that might prevent you from getting a proper treatment you need.
1. Ankylosing Spondylitis Only Affects The Back
As mentioned above, ankylosing spondylitis prominently affects the spine, but it also affects the other body joints, such as knees, shoulder, hips, ribs, and small joints.
2. Young People Do Not Get AS
Most people think that ankylosing spondylitis occurs as you age. However, the fact is that ankylosing spondylitis is typically diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30 and rarely after 50.
3. Ankylosing Spondylitis Affects Only Men
Although men are 2-3 times more affected than women, ankylosing spondylitis affects both the sexes i.e. men as well as women. The cases in men seem to be more severe.
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4. Exercise Makes It Worse
If you suffer from back pain, your natural idea would be to avoid physical activity and take rest. But, the right kind of exercise can actually make you feel better in the long run. Exercise is an important part of treatment for ankylosing spondylitis and helps preserve flexibility.
Note: Exercises for ankylosing spondylitis should always be those which are directed by your physician.
5. Spinal Fusion & Disability Is Inevitable
Most people with ankylosing spondylitis may experience periodic episodes of mild to severe inflammation, stiffness, and severe back pain. Repeated episodes may cause fusion of vertebrae. This can cause your spine to straighten and limit movements. But, the fact is that this doesn’t happen to everyone. Many people may experience mild symptoms, which can be managed effectively.
6. Ankylosing Spondylitis Is Easily Curable
The fact is that there is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis.
However, treatment like Homeopathy can offer you a major relief in the discomforting symptoms and help manage the pain. It may also help in reducing the frequency of episodes.
7. There Is A Little I Can Do To Help Myself
The patients who can engage themselves in an active lifestyle, exercise regularly, and maintain a body weight may experience a better outcome. Also, following a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the joint inflammation.
It is very difficult to predict how your ankylosing spondylitis will progress in the long term, but what is sure is that you will require lifelong ankylosing spondylitis management.
Also Read: 11 Important Facts about Ankylosing Spondylitis you should be Aware of
Good treatment, regular exercises, and following the right diet (to minimize inflammation) are the keys to managing your condition.
Written by Dr. Krutika, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah
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