What is this condition Spondylitis?
It is a form of inflammatory arthritis which affects the spine and therefore causes stiffness and pain. This condition is more common in men in their twenties and thirties although it does affect other age groups and women. It is thought that it is on the increase because of so many people sitting at computers, not sitting correctly causing bad posture plus generally living inactive lives. It is also considered to be hereditary.
What are the symptoms?
Early indicators of Spondylitis could be consistent pain and a feeling of stiffness in the lower back, hips and buttocks for more than a few months. Normal activities can become a struggle for sufferers. It is a disease which is systemic which means that the problem and its symptoms will not necessarily be limited to one area, say the joints for example. A common symptom experienced by patients is inflammation of the eye(s) and affects about a quarter of sufferers. Other symptoms are loss of appetite, fatigue and fevers.
Are there any remedies available?
Currently, there is no known cure for Spondylitis. There are however, natural home remedies that can alleviate some of the pain and suffering.
- Massage manipulation: this really helps Spondylitis sufferers’ pain relief and associated stress levels. Increasing blood circulation with massage improves flexibility and stiffness
- Learn to sit correctly: at work or at home at your desk it is important to have a firm seated chair with an upright back which extends to the head. It must have arms to take the weight off your spine. Your knee and hip should be at a right-angle so the height of the chair should be adjusted to suit. It is essential that you avoid soft, low, cushiony chairs and sofas as much as you can as they will only encourage bad posture which will lead to further pain
- Mattresses: ideally your bed should be firm and not prone to sagging but not too hard either. You should only use one pillow. If you are considering purchasing a new mattress the most expensive will not necessarily be the best. If you can, lie down on the mattress for twenty minutes to check how comfortable you find it before buying
- Posture: keep an upright posture with your shoulders back and comfortable. Your posture obviously determines the position of your spine
- Temperature: heat helps! Hot baths and showers plus saunas are all aids in relieving pain and stiffness. Stretching exercises in the heat are very beneficial too. When you are in bed you may find that electric blankets or hot water bottles will relieve some pain for you. If you ever find an area of your body that is predominantly inflamed then an ice pack can relieve pain too
- Diet: it is extremely important to eat a high protein and calcium diet. Eat nourishing foods including fruit and vegetables for vitamins. Try consuming two table-spoons of potato juice before you have a meal and walnuts are good for snacking
- Exercise: a physiotherapist will advise you about the best exercises you do to help your condition
- Medicine: ensure you take the medication that has been prescribed to you
By Eirian Hallinan