Taking Care of Yourself With Ankylosing Spondylitis
Last Updated: March 21, 2019
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Self-care is crucial when you have ankylosing spondylitis. Learn coping techniques and tips from others who have been there.
Kelsey: If I met someone that was newly diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis I would say, "Don't panic. A lot of the major aspects of your life are not going to change and you don't have to let it stop you from doing what you love."
Dr. Johnson: Eating a healthy diet in general is good. There's no specific diet that's been linked to ankylosing spondylitis or inflammation.
Kelsey: I ended up going gluten-free which has worked significantly.
Dr. Hoffman: Try not to be overweight. Try to remain functional.
Dr. Tieng: I do recommend a physical therapist to teach the patient different exercises and stretching techniques.
Katy: She really focuses on ensuring my joints are in the right positions, ensuring that I'm mobile and flexible.
Kelsey: Walking, I found is the best exercise for me.
Dr. Johnson: Pilates and Tai Chi are very popular.
Dr. Tieng: Patients with ankylosing spondylitis have low bone mineral density. I would encourage my patients to avoid contact sports to avoid any risk of fracture. Contact sports include boxing, mixed martial arts, football.
Kelsey: I take a lot of baths, which helps with my joints.
Dr. Hoffman: Don't smoke. If you want some wine, you can have a little wine. Don't smoke.
Dr. Tieng: If a patient is feeling anxious or depressed there are support groups.
Kelsey: I've gone to multiple meetings. I met some really great people. It's really fun to be surrounded by people who understand what I'm going through.
Katy: Really do your research in terms of finding a rheumatologist that works for you.
Dr. Tieng: Follow with a rheumatologist regularly to take medications as prescribed.
Katy: Make sure you move, because the easiest thing to do in this disease is stop moving when the pain is the most acute, because if you don't, you'll fuse, and none of us want to end up hunched over.
Dr. Hoffman: Basically keeping an open mind and not giving up on yourself.
Kelsey: You have to be a little bit smarter about the decisions you make in terms of participating in certain things but you don't have to give anything up.
Medical Reviewers:William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Review Date:03-09-2019