Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain

Say Goodbye to Pain: How to Relieve Pain from Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis currently affects approximately one percent of the U.S. population. That might not seem like a lot, but it actually works out to about 2.7 million people.

Do you think you might be suffering from ankylosing spondylitis? Does it affect someone you love?

Either way, you’re likely interested in learning about different ankylosing spondylitis pain management techniques.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about relieving ankylosing spondylitis pain.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that affects the spine and the SI or sacroiliac joints (the joints between the bones of the pelvis).

This condition occurs when the immune system mistakes the tissues of the spine and sacroiliac joints for foreign invaders and attacks them.

It’s an autoimmune disease and resembles other diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, in which the body mistakenly attacks its own organs.

When the immune system attacks the spine and SI joints, it causes damage. In an effort to repair this damage, the body forms new bone across the discs and joints of the spine.

This bone formation fuses the vertebrae of the spine together. When the spine becomes fused, movement becomes hindered and it becomes difficult to straighten the spine. The spine can’t absorb impact when it’s fused like this and it more prone to fractures.

When the spine becomes fused, it can actually snap like a twig or branch if it gets injured. This is why ankylosing spondylitis is sometimes referred to as “Bamboo Spine.”

Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis come on gradually. One doesn’t just wake up one morning with a totally fused spine.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Pain and/or stiffness in the lower back, buttocks, and/or hips
  • Pain and/or stiffness in the neck
  • Pain in the ligaments and joints
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of appetite
  • General feelings of discomfort
  • Mild fever

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis tend to develop gradually over a period of several weeks or months.

For most people, the pain is more noticeable in the mornings or at night. It may also be worse after prolonged periods of inactivity and may get worse with light exercise or warm baths or showers.

Some people only experience pain on one side of their body.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a physician to get a formal diagnosis.

Long-Term Risks of Ankylosing Spondylitis

When you first begin experiencing symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, you will likely be able to continue engaging in activities of daily living without too many problems. You may be a bit more tired than usual or deal with some aches and pains, but they won’t impact your daily life.

Over time, though, symptoms can become more severe and be much more of a hindrance. This is especially true for those who do not seek treatment early on.

Individuals with advanced ankylosing spondylitis are more likely than others to need disability accommodations or leaves of absence from work.

In fact, within 10 years of the time when symptoms arise, up to 70 percent of individuals with ankylosing spondylitis will become disabled. Past the ten-year mark, that number increases to 90 percent.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Causes

Researchers do not know exactly what causes ankylosing spondylitis.

They have found, though, that genetic factors play a role in the development of this disease. Individuals who have the HLA-B27 gene are more likely than others to develop ankylosing spondylitis.

It’s important to note that having the gene is not a guarantee that you’ll suffer from ankylosing spondylitis, but it does increase your chances.

Other factors that play a role in the development of ankylosing spondylitis are gender and age. Men are more likely than women to develop this condition. You’re also more likely to develop it in late adolescence or early adulthood.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain Management Solutions

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis. There are many different treatments that can help those who have it to manage their symptoms effectively and slow the disease’s progression, though.

The following are some of the most well-known pain management solutions for those with ankylosing spondylitis:

Medications

Many physicians start to treat ankylosing spondylitis by prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs).

Common NSAIDs include naproxen and indomethacin. These medications help to treat inflammation, stiffness, and pain.

If NSAIDs are not effective, a physician might prescribe a biologic medication. Popular biologic medications include TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers and interleukin 17 inhibitors.

TNF blockers target a protein in the body that causes inflammation. Interleukin 17 inhibitors also help to reduce inflammation.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is often part of the treatment plan for someone with ankylosing spondylitis.

A physical therapist can teach you exercises and stretches that will increase strength and flexibility. These exercises can also help you to maintain good posture, sleeping positions, and walking positions.

Lifestyle Modifications

Along with medication and physical therapy, lifestyle modifications are also very helpful to those with ankylosing spondylitis.

Regular exercise is a common lifestyle modification that physicians recommend. They may also recommend alternating hot and cold therapy and the cessation of smoking.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery is necessary to treat ankylosing spondylitis.

Surgery is an extreme option and is rarely a physician’s first recommendation. It may be necessary, though, if other, more conservative therapies aren’t helpful in managing an individual’s pain.

Physicians might also recommend surgery is someone is suffering from severe joint damage or needs a replacement of the hip joint.

Get Help with Your Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain Today

Ankylosing spondylitis can be a frustrating and debilitating condition. The good news, though, is that ankylosing spondylitis pain management solutions do exist.

If you’re fed up with your pain and want to get to the root of the issue, we can help at Executive Spine Surgery.

Contact us today to learn more about our pain management services or to schedule an appointment online.

We have offices conveniently located in both Hackettstown and Newton, New Jersey. We make it easy for you to get an appointment at the office that best suits your needs!

what is facet arthritis

What is Facet Arthritis?: Everything You Need to Know

What is facet arthritis? It is a disabling disease affecting the quality of people lives, yet it is relatively unknown.

Its symptoms include sporadic, sometimes severe and unpredictable pain in the neck or back.

It also causes a decrease in your mobility due to traveling pain anywhere from the neck to the upper leg.

Unique Facet Arthritis Indicators

It is easy to think arthritis will never affect your life, much less a type of arthritis which is so unique most people have never heard of it.

What is facet arthritis and the statistical impact on the population?

Facet arthritis afflicts the geriatric populations more than any other age group. Women are twice as likely to get it than men.

Many people will begin to suffer from sporadic and unpredictable pain. This pain can radiate from the neck down to the upper legs.

A facet arthritis diagnosis is prevalent in obese people and the condition plays a large factor in the people who have the disease.

Any accident, physical trauma or injury can trigger this type of arthritis or cause it to re-occur with more pain intensity.

A couple of other factors that can be indicators include malnutrition and a lack of physical exercise and activities.

Any joint can develop arthritis. However, when arthritis develops in the facet joint, this is facet arthropathy also known as facet arthritis.

There is not one symptom of facet arthropathy which would immediately make you run to your doctor. At least not in the beginning.

The progressive symptoms of facet arthritis are something else entirely. Unfortunately, there is no cure for facet arthritis cannot because once the facet joints are damaged they cannot heal.

Facet Arthritis To-Do List

The first thing one must do is get testing done to diagnose facet joint arthritis. A medical imaging test to locate where the disease is within the body is very helpful in diagnosing the condition.

Some of the imaging tests which are helpful to determine if you suffer from arthropathy include, but are not limited to:

  • MRI
  • X-Ray
  • CT Scan

The facet injection is also something which helps diagnose this condition. This test is sometimes called a medial branch block.

The medial branch block provides anesthetic which blocks the nerves when it senses facet joint pain. It is when you tell your doctor you have begun to feel better and are not having the same symptoms, the physician makes the official diagnosis of facet arthritis.

The Treatments for Facet Arthritis

There is no cure for facet arthritis, but that doesn’t mean you need to suffer or not seek treatment. There are many treatment options that will help manage and reduce your pain.

The treatments options range from prescription medication to physical therapy. But we have listed some specific treatment options below:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication helps the pain because it reduces inflammation at the affected joint.
  • Apply a heating pad or cooling pad on the inflamed area can help manage the pain.
  • Physical therapy is a great option to help you keep moving the inflamed facet arthritic area.
  • Radiofrequency ablation is also known as facet thermal ablation helps nerve blocking in the affected area.
  • Acupuncture has some success offering pain relief associated with facet joint arthritis.

Find the treatment option which works best for you. Don’t quit if the first one doesn’t work right away. It takes persistence with the end result being reducing the pain.

Surgery and Other Treatment Options

Surgery is a last resort for facet arthropathy, because of the risk to the spine. Lumbar fusion surgery is performed only if the pain is intolerable.

It is best if you try every medical and non-medical treatment before going down the surgical path of treatment.

But is a logical choice if the quality of your life diminishes due to constant and severe arthritic pain. We understand this type of decision is not made lightly.

It takes family and physician consensus, consultations, and agreement for this final resort to be an option.

There are other treatment options and some of them are unique. An important thing to remember is within the medical field treatment options grow every day.

A couple of unique treatment options have great success in reducing facet arthritis inflammation and pain. They are in the list below:

  • Joint corticosteroid injections shot into the affected joint reduces arthritic inflammation.
  • Minimally invasive lumbar fusion – a surgery which fuses bones of the spine together so there is no motion between them.

If the recommendation is surgery, minimally invasive surgeries are the best. This means the use of percutaneous techniques in surgeries because they have minimal impact.

They are performed with small incisions so the removal of bone is less. There is also less blood loss and less recovery time need after surgery.

What’s more, there are usually excellent surgical results due to the use of specialized spinal tools and instrumentation.

You Do Not Walk This Road Alone

Many people suffer from facet arthritis. 1 in 5 people suffers from various forms of arthritis.

Due to the high number of arthritis sufferers, there are peer-to-peer support groups available. There are also support groups run by the Arthritis Foundation and other non-profit agencies.

The support groups offer emotional support, activities aimed at helping those with any form of arthritis, and some offer financial assistance.

They are there for you so please reach out when you need those who understand the disease best.

What is Your Next Best Step?

We offer some of the most advanced medical and non-medical treatment options in facet arthritis.

Our commitment is to easing your pain and giving you back the quality of life you deserve. So what is facet arthritis? It is a condition our practice can help you with today.

We have the surgeons, the experience, and the best medical and non-medical treatment options to help you today.

Don’t wait to contact us until the pain has taken joy and life from your day-to-day existence. We want to help give you a future which is carefree and open so you can experience life once again.