N.A.S.S Dingwall Branch Information Page

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Drug Treatment

List of Drugs Used

Although the disease cannot be cured, anti-inflammatory drugs, through pain reduction, often allow improvement in sleep and general well-being, resulting in a greater ability to carry out exercises. Analgesics themselves have a very little role, if any, in this condition. The symptoms-related inflammation and therefore non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are appropriate. However, for those individuals who cannot tolerate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually with gastrointestinal complications, a pure analgesic may be the only alternative. This is why it is important to take this medication when the stomach contains food, to protect the stomach lining from any damage. However, these drugs are not habit-forming.

There are over twenty different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which come in many different shapes and sizes. The best one is a slow release agent which can be taken on a single occasion per day, usually at night, allowing improved sleep, less morning stiffness and less pain during the day.

For those with a particularly aggressive disease, and especially people with peripheral joint involvement, methotrexate, azathioprine and sulphasalazine are often considered. The last of these has been studied quite extensively and is particularly useful for peripheral joint symptoms. The effect on the spine is probably marginal. Methotrexate is frequently used in people with psoriatic arthritis, but it remains unknown if spondylitis itself is helped.

It is a big mistake to think that drug therapy alone is appropriate for managing ankylosing spondylitis. DRUGS ARE SIMPLY GIVEN TO REDUCE THE INFLAMMATION, PAIN AND STIFFNESS, to allow you to become MORE ACTIVE.

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Limb Joints

The condition from time to time might affect joints or bony sites other than the spine. The hips, knees and heels are the most common locations, with aching and pain sometimes accompanied by swelling in the joint, which in most cases will settle down after treatment. It is important that the hip joint in particular is stretched to prevent stiffening in a bent position which will make you lean forward.

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Other Areas of Pain

The heel bone may become painful in two areas. Most common is the undersurface, about three centimetres from the back of the foot. This is called plantar fascitis and can last for many weeks. It may respond to an insole for the shoe designed to take weight off that part of the heel. The less common pain arises at the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon is attached to the bone. Pressure from the shoe may aggravate the pain.

Sitting on hard chairs can be unpleasant, as sometimes pain will be felt under the pelvic bones due to contact pressure.

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