The goals of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) treatment are to relieve symptoms and prevent spinal deformity. When you and your doctor discuss treatment, you may be surprised to discover that surgery is rarely recommended for AS. Many patients find that nonsurgical methods, such as exercise and medications, are successful at managing their disease and keeping complications at bay.
Common nonsurgical treatments for ankylosing spondylitis include:
Posture training: A serious complication of AS is the development of a “hunchback” posture. Fortunately, posture training can prevent this side effect. If you have AS, keeping your spine straight is key. Focus on squaring your shoulders, and keeping your head relaxed and facing straight ahead.
Exercise:This is one of the best ways to gain long-term pain relief, especially when you exercise and take medications for inflammation. Exercise helps maintain your range of motion, which keeps your joints mobile. Also, a lack of activity—not exercising at all for a lengthy period—may encourage your spine to fuse because the joints aren’t being used as much. Exercise can also help you maintain good posture because you strengthen your muscles to better support the spine.