ankylosing spondylitis

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Will I need surgery for ankylosing spondylitis?

Typically, surgery is not a treatment option for ankylosing spondylitis. However, if AS causes joint damage, usually in the knees or hips, that makes every day activities difficult, joint replacement may be an option. In extremely rare cases, surgery to straighten the spine may be performed by an experienced surgeon.

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Are there other things besides medication that can help with the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS)?

What are the consequences of limited spinal mobility and having a head-forward posture in ankylosing spondylitis?

How can I test to know if I have a hunchback posture due to ankylosing spondylitis?

Can I get pregnant if I have ankylosing spondylitis?

Will my ankylosing spondylitis symptoms get worse during my pregnancy?

Are there other things besides medication that can help with the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS)?

It is important to follow your prescribed treatment plan and follow up with your doctor regularly. You can also help alleviate pain and stiffness by staying active with regular exercise and stretching regimens. Practice good posture, don't smoke, and eat a balanced diet to help your body function to the best of its ability.

What are the consequences of limited spinal mobility and having a head-forward posture in ankylosing spondylitis?

When your spine is immobile, activities of daily living such as bending over to tie your shoes and dressing can become very difficult and painful. It is important to incorporate regular exercise and stretching routines into your day to help alleviate pain and stiffness. An irreversible head-forward "hunchback" posture is one of the most serious consequences of AS and should be avoided by working with your physician and physical therapist on posture training exercises.

How can I test to know if I have a hunchback posture due to ankylosing spondylitis?

If you are concerned that you may be developing a "hunchback" due to ankylosing spondylitis, you can do the following test: stand against a wall with both your back and heels touching the wall, while keeping your chin parallel to the floor. If you find that you can't touch the back of the wall with your head, this can be informative that you have an abnormal head-forward hunchback posture.

Can I get pregnant if I have ankylosing spondylitis?

Since AS affects everyone differently, talk to your doctor about how pregnancy may affect your symptoms and disease management. Having AS seems to have no effect on fertility, so it is possible for women with AS to become pregnant and have children.

References
  • Ostensen, M., Ostensen H. "Ankylosing spondylitis--the female aspect. "The Journal of Rheumatology 25.1 (1998): 120-124.
Will my ankylosing spondylitis symptoms get worse during my pregnancy?

It is important to remember that AS affects every individual differently. In a 1998 study of over 900 pregnancies in women with ankylosing spondylitis, one-third of respondents said there was no change in their symptoms, while one-third said their symptoms improved, and the final third said their symptoms got worse. Another study conducted by Ostensen demonstrated that 80% of patients had unaltered or aggravated disease symptoms. Of note, the 20% of patients that improved their symptoms during pregnancy also had accompanying diseases like psoriasis, ulcerative arthritis, or small joint arthritis.

References
  • Ostensen M., Ostensen H. "Ankylosing spondylitis--the female aspect. "The Journal of Rheumatology 25.1 (1998): 120-124.
  • Ostensen, M. "The effect of pregnancy on ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis". Am J. Reprod Immunol. 1992 Oct-Dec, 28(3-4): 235-7.

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