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Axial Spondylitis Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
Axial Spondylitis Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment. Axial spondylitis, also known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), is a type of arthritis that affects the spine and other joints. It is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and progressive fusion of the vertebrae in the spine, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. If left untreated, axial spondylitis can lead to permanent joint damage, making early diagnosis and treatment essential.
What Is Axial Spondylitis?
Axial spondylitis is a form of arthritis that affects the spine, causing pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips. It is classified as a type of spondyloarthritis, a group of related conditions that also includes psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis. Axial spondylitis typically develops in people in their late teens to early thirties, and it is more common in men than women.
Symptoms of Axial Spondylitis
The symptoms of axial spondylitis can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:
- Low back pain: Aching or sharp pain in the lower back that may worsen after periods of inactivity or at night.
- Stiffness in the lower back and hips: Difficulty moving and a feeling of stiffness, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
- Reduced mobility: Difficulty bending, twisting, or reaching due to pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips.
- Fatigue: A feeling of tiredness or exhaustion that may be related to pain and inflammation.
- Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) levels: These blood tests can indicate the presence of inflammation in the body.
Causes of Axial Spondylitis
The exact cause of axial spondylitis is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including:
- Abnormal immune response: People with axial spondylitis may have an immune system that mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to inflammation and damage.
- HLA-B27 gene: Approximately 90% of people with axial spondylitis carry the HLA-B27 gene, which is believed to play a role in the development of the condition.
- Exposure to certain infections: Some research suggests that exposure to certain infections, such as Chlamydia or Salmonella, may trigger the development of axial spondylitis in people who are genetically predisposed.
Precautions for Axial Spondylitis
There are several precautions that people with axial spondylitis can take to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of joint damage, including:
- Maintaining a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and avoiding foods that may trigger inflammation, such as processed foods and saturated fats, can help to manage symptoms.
- Engaging in regular physical activity: Regular physical activity, such as stretching, swimming, or yoga, can help to improve joint flexibility and reduce stiffness.
- Avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity: Prolonged periods of inactivity, such as sitting or lying down for extended periods, can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of joint damage.
Diagnosis of Axial Spondylitis?
Diagnosis of axial spondylitis is typically based on a combination of physical examination, medical history, and imaging tests. Here are the steps involved in diagnosing axial spondylitis:
- Physical Examination: A doctor may perform a physical examination to check for pain and stiffness in the back, neck, and other joints. They may also check for signs of inflammation and tenderness.
- Medical History: The doctor may ask about the symptoms, when they started, and their severity. They may also ask about family history of similar conditions, and any previous treatment for back pain.
- Imaging Tests: X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans can help the doctor diagnose axial spondylitis. These tests can show changes in the spine, including the formation of new bone and the degeneration of discs and joints.
Blood Tests: Blood tests can help rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- HLA-B27 Test: HLA-B27 is a gene that’s associated with increased risk of developing axial spondylitis. A blood test can determine if a person has this gene.The doctor may use one or more of these methods to diagnose axial spondylitis. It’s important to seek an accurate diagnosis so that the proper treatment can be prescribed.
Axial Spondylitis Treatment?
Treatment for axial spondylitis aims to reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility, and maintain the strength and stability of the spine and other joints. Here are some of the treatments that may be used:
Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, the doctor may prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, or biologic drugs, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help improve flexibility, strength, and stability in the back, neck, and other joints. Exercises may include stretches, strengthening, and low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling.
Assistive Devices: Braces, canes, and crutches can help reduce the stress on the joints and improve mobility.
Heat or cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the spine or to correct spinal deformities.
Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking can help reduce the stress on the joints and reduce the symptoms of axial spondylitis.
Natural Home Remedies For Axial Spondylitis
In addition to medical treatment, there are some natural home remedies that can help manage the symptoms of axial spondylitis:
- Exercise: Regular exercise, such as swimming, cycling, or walking, can help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and maintain overall health. It is important to discuss an exercise plan with a doctor or physical therapist before starting.
- Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat, such as a warm towel or heating pad, or cold, such as a cold pack, to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Stretching: Gentle stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce pain.
- Good posture: Maintaining good posture can help reduce stress on the joints and reduce pain.
- Massage: Massage therapy can help improve circulation and reduce muscle tension, leading to reduced pain.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture may help reduce pain and improve function in people with axial spondylitis.
- Mind-body techniques: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and promote relaxation, which can help manage the symptoms of axial spondylitis.
Best Effective Exercises For Axial Spondylitis?
- Exercise is an important component of managing the symptoms of axial spondylitis. The following are some effective exercises for people with axial spondylitis:
- Stretching: Gentle stretching, such as forward bends, can help improve flexibility and reduce pain.
- Low-impact aerobics: Low-impact aerobics, such as cycling or swimming, can help improve flexibility and reduce pain without putting stress on the joints.
- Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises, such as weightlifting, can help build muscle and improve overall physical function.
- Yoga: Yoga can help improve flexibility, strength, and balance, and reduce pain and stress.
- Tai chi: Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that can help improve balance, flexibility, and circulation.