People diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) feel impacts that begin at the onset of the disease and continue for the rest of their lives. This is why it’s extremely important to have a quality care team and treatment plan that can help lessen symptoms and provide those with ankylosing spondylitis with a better quality of life.
So, who should be included in your AS care team? While your main practitioner will likely be a rheumatologist, it can be very beneficial to see a chiropractor as well.
Below, we’ll elaborate on why this is and what you can do to ensure you receive the best chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that causes chronic spine inflammation. It inflames the sacroiliac joints located between the base of the spine and pelvis and typically spreads up to the joints between the vertebrae, the bones that connect to form the spine. Over time, this inflammation can cause the vertebrae to fuse. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can eventually result in a hunched posture. It can also affect the ribs and make breathing more difficult.
Early signs and symptoms of AS can include excessive fatigue, stiffness, and pain in the lower back, hips, and neck, especially in the mornings and after periods of inactivity. There is no known specific cause for AS, but people with a gene known as HLA-B27 have a much greater risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis; however, they aren’t guaranteed to end up with the disease. Men are more likely to develop AS than women, and symptoms usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. While there is no cure for AS, there are treatments that can lessen the symptoms and possibly slow the progression of the disease.
The Importance of Chiropractic Care for Ankylosing Spondylitis
When added to treatment plans for ankylosing spondylitis, chiropractic care can have many benefits. Below, we describe some of the common questions that AS patients often have when determining if chiropractic care should be added to their specific treatment plans.
What are the goals of chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis?
In general, the goal of chiropractic care is to address the body as a whole and provide better overall health. This is why the biggest goal of using chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis is to create movement by working with the regions of the spine that are still moveable. Movement is important for tissue healing, overall spinal function, pain reduction, delaying disease progression, and improving the overall quality of life.
Does chiropractic care help ankylosing spondylitis patients?
There is a lot of concern as to whether or not utilizing chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis helps or hurts. There is a belief that chiropractic care can worsen symptoms, but in reality, visiting a chiropractor that understands the disease can work as a very helpful addition to seeing other practitioners and taking anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed. One study from 2017 measured the impact of chiropractic care on three people with inactive AS. It found that chiropractic care helped reduce their AS symptoms and improve their mobility.
Chiropractic therapy for most AS patients includes gentle and deliberate stretching and positioning that works to get the movable parts of the spine aligned as closely as possible to its natural curvature, improving nerve function and blood circulation. When combined with exercises designed to strengthen and increase endurance, this therapy can help your body remain as balanced as possible with very little stress.
What should you look for in a provider?
One of the biggest things to consider when searching for a chiropractor is finding someone who understands how ankylosing spondylitis works and what its limits are. Those who are diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis are generally more susceptible to injury, so it’s important to use the proper techniques. Your chiropractor must understand the importance of analyzing your spinal mobility, your balance, and your body as a whole to work towards the best possible outcome for you.
Are the doctors at PostureWorks able to treat ankylosing spondylitis?
The doctors at PostureWorks are very familiar with treating patients with ankylosing spondylitis, as we treat some of the toughest cases. We can provide you with a customized treatment plan based on a high-level biometric analysis to lessen your symptoms and grant you a better quality of life as you continue to age. Our Chiropractic BioPhysics® technique incorporates postural exercises, neuro-muscular reeducation, and spinal alignment traction to produce long-term improvement and maintenance in your overall mobility.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. CBP is conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive. To find out more about the impact of chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks, contact us today.