Back to Basics: The Top 16 Myths About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Only Affects the Back
Ankylosing Spondylitis Primarily Occurs in the Elderly
Ankylosing Spondylitis is Easily Curable
Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis Requires Many Tests
- Evidence of low back pain and stiffness for a period of 3 months, which improves with exercise, but is not relieved by rest
- Limits of lumbar spine motion while bending
- Limits of chest expansion when breathing
Drugs Are the Only Way to Treat Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Lessen joint pain and stiffness
- Slow disease progression
- Prevent joint deformity, such as kyphosis
- Maintain posture and daily work/life function
People with Ankylosing Spondylitis Should Avoid Exercise
Physical therapy can help to keep the back flexible, prevent stooping, make daily activities easier, and lower the chances of severe pain or further injury.
Drug Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis is Always Expensive
However, NSAIDs can be associated with serious side effects such as stomach bleeding, heart attack, and stroke - patients should discuss these side effects with their doctor, especially with long-term, chronic use of NSAIDs.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Leads to Severe Disability
There is Little I Can Do to Help Myself
Studies have shown a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (found in coldwater fish, flax seeds, and walnuts) can reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and there is some evidence it might be helpful in ankylosing spondylitis.
If NSAIDs Don't Work, My Treatment Options Are Limited
Aren't TNF Blocker Side Effects Dangerous?
TNF Blockers Are All the Same, So It Does Not Matter Which One I Use
TNF Blocker Injections Rarely Cause Skin Reactions
In addition, patients using TNF blockers should consult with their health care provider before receiving any "live" vaccine (for example: FluMist, BCG vaccine) as these medications may make the vaccine less effective.
TNF Blockers Can't Help Slow Damage in AS
If TNF Blockers Don't Work, There Aren't Any Other Options
There is No Way I Can Afford TNF Blockers
If you have insurance, check with your plan to determine the preferred treatments and copays for ankylosing spondylitis. The manufacturer may be able to assist you with these copay costs as well, if you qualify.
Finished: Back to Basics: The Top 16 Myths About Ankylosing Spondylitis
- National Institute Of Arthritis And Musculoskeletal And Skin Diseases. Questions and Answers about Ankylosing Spondylitis. Accessed October 20, 2013 at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Ankylosing_Spondylitis/
- Haroon N. et al. The Impact of Tumor Necrosis Factor α Inhibitors on Radiographic Progression in Ankylosing Spondylitis.
- Spondylitis Association of America. Medications used to treat ankylosing spondylitis and related diseases. Accessed October 20, 2013 online at http://www.spondylitis.org/about/medications.aspx
- Drugs.com. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Harvard Health Publications. Accessed October 20, 2013 at http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/ankylosing-spondylitis.html.
- Drugs.com. Cimzia Approved by FDA for Treatment of Adults with Active Ankylosing Spondylitis. Accessed October 20, 2013 at http://www.drugs.com/newdrugs/cimzia-approved-fda-adults-active-ankylosing-spondylitis-3933.html