Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine and sacroiliac joints.
Medical History – The medical history may include questions related to back pain, stiffness or mobility limitation in the spine, hip or knee pain, duration of symptoms, exacerbation and remission of pain, family history accompanied by relevant imaging studies.
Physical Examination – The physical examination looks for indications of joint pain and stiffness, reduced range of motion of vertebrae, difference in body heights, enlarged costovertebral angle, decreased chest expansion and systemic signs of inflammation.
Body Image Disturbance – The patient with AS is likely to experience a disturbance in body image due to the progressive deformity of the spine, resulting in frequent episodes of discomfort and a withdrawal from activities.
Fatigue – It is common for those with ankylosing spondylitis to experience fatigue due to their physical limitations, making activities of daily living increasingly more difficult.
The goal of an ankylosing spondylitis care plan is to reduce inflammation and pain, improve range of motion, maintain spinal integrity, increase functional mobility, reduce associated fatigue and maximize quality of life.
- Educate patient about the disease
- Provide patient with adequate rest
- Encourage patient to perform gentle exercise
- Administer pharmacological agents
- Maintain proper body alignment
- educating the patient about the underlying pathology of ankylosing spondylitis helps promote understanding and compliance to treatment
- rest helps reduce muscle pain and fatigue
- exercise promotes joint lubrication and maintains mobility
- pharmacologic agents such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and disease modifying antirheumatic drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation
- maintaining proper alignment of the spine is important to prevent further deformity
A successful care plan for ankylosing spondylitis will result in reduced pain and inflammation, slow progression of the disease, improved spinal mobility and, ultimately, an improved quality of life.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause pain and stiffness in the spine. To manage the symptoms, it is essential to have an individualized care plan that includes educational interventions, rest, exercise, and medications, along with the management of body alignment. With proper care and treatment, patients can live a more fulfilling life despite their diagnosis.
- What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is believed that individuals with certain genes may be more prone to developing the condition if they are exposed to certain triggers in the environment.
- Is there a cure for ankylosing spondylitis?
No, there is currently no cure for ankylosing spondylitis. However, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms and prevent progression of the disease.
- What are the long-term effects of ankylosing spondylitis?
The long-term effects of ankylosing spondylitis depend on the severity of the disease and how well it is managed. In some cases, it may result in severe disability and deformity if left untreated.
- Can ankylosing spondylitis affect other parts of the body?
Yes, ankylosing spondylitis can affect other parts of the body, such as the eyes, heart, and lungs. Symptoms, such as fatigue and loss of appetite, can also be present. It is important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any additional symptoms.
- How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
Ankylosing spondylitis is usually diagnosed based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, imaging tests, blood tests, and genetic testing.