Spondyloarthritis is a term which is usually used to describe the entire range of rheumatic diseases which affect the joints, tendons, spine and ligaments. It affects people who are between the ages of 16 and 30. It affects more men than it affects the women.
More than 40,000 of the people in the United States are affected by Spondyloarthritis. It causes stiffness and pain in the joints and it affects the knee, hip, neck, back, ankles etc. It may also cause inflammation in the eyes, lungs, skin and heart.
Symptoms of Spondyloarthritis
There may be varied symptoms according to the affected area.
The primary symptoms are:
- Pain and inflammation
- Stiffness in different areas like hip, knee, shoulder, ankle and neck
- Lack of flexibility of the joints
- Pain in lower back and break up in vertebrae
- Decreased movements of spine
- Breathing problem if there is a break up in the rib cage
- Fever and inflammation of lungs
- Indigestion and loss of appetite
- Taking medicine orally and externally will reduce pain and inflammation. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can cure the stiffness and pain in an effective manner. The effectiveness of the medications depends upon the intensity of the condition.
- Extra care has to be taken while sitting and walking. It is important to sit, walk and sleep in a right posture and to take breaks between the activities. These can be achieved by continuous effort. Use of walking aids will make the person comfortable to do the day-to-day activities.
- It is advisable to seek necessary medical attention according to the intensity of the pain and other symptoms.
More Spondyloarthritis Treatments
For some patients, the doctor might prescribe medications such as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Sulfasalazine is a popular DMARD. Nowadays, a novel treatment called tumor necrosisfactor inhibitors (TNF blockers) is used to prevent inflammation in spondyloarthritis patients.
Surgery is usually done only as a last resort. Joint replacement surgery is becoming popular of late. Other types of procedures are recommended if the patient’s spine curvature is affected severely.
Hot and Cold Packs
Simple home remedies such as heat and cold application can go a long way in easing pain and discomfort. Heat pads can be applied locally on the affected joint to alleviate stiffness. In case of swelling, apply cold packs for relief.
Exercise for Spondyloarthritis
The pain of the arthritic condition should not dissuade patients from exercising regularly. Consult a qualified physiotherapist to learn effective exercises for retaining joint mobility and flexibility. Regular exercise and yoga practice can improve posture, make the back stronger and help affected patients function better, improving their quality of life.