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Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a long -term condition where parts of the spine and other select areas of the body become inflamed.It is one of a small number of auto-immune conditions that affect the spine. Collectively they are called Spondylo-arthropathies.

Symptoms in AS can vary, however people with the condition typically present with symptoms such as:

  • Back pain and stiffness, which is often worse with rest
  • Pain and/or swelling in other joints of the body such as heels/feet, hips and shoulders.
  • Extreme tiredness/fatigue

These symptoms usually develop over months or years and can fluctuate in severity.

AS is a long-term condition with no current cure however treatment is available to relieve symptoms and delay its progression:

  • Exercise – to reduce pain and stiffness and improve muscle strength and endurance. This can be performed individually or in groups, and can involve stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercise.
  • Medication – to help relieve pain and inflammation
  • Self-management strategies – avoiding smoking, posture management and maintaining an active healthy lifestyle.

Please see the links below for more information on available support groups and charities relevant to this condition.

What Can I Do To Help Myself?

Many rheumatological conditions are classed as long- term conditions meaning that either you will live with them for many years or in some cases indefinitely.

 While medical science continually works hard through research to find improvements to medical treatment for these conditions, we know that there are many ways in which you can help yourself.

Have a look below at some information leaflets through the links to help with your self-management.

Coping with Flare Ups

Coping with Flare Ups - PDF

Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

Getting A Good Night’s Sleep - PDF

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Techniques - PDF

Mindfulness video

Tips For Stress Management

Tips For Stress Management - PDF

Pacing And Setting Baselines

Pacing And Setting Baselines - PDF

Goal Setting and Action Planning

Goal Setting and Action Planning - PDF

Managing A Set-Back

Managing A Set-Back - PDF

When to seek advice

If you have severe pain affecting your sleep and daily activities, if you have had a serious injury or you have symptoms that have not improved with self-management, you should contact your GP practice. If you have a red, hot swollen joint please ring 111