Ankylosing Spondylitis Treatment
The Ankylosing Spondylitis Treatment Team
A person with ankylosing spondylitis will probably need to see several different types of healthcare providers, because the disease can affect different parts of the body.
However, it may be helpful -- for both the doctors and the affected person -- for one doctor to manage the complete treatment plan for a person's ankylosing spondylitis. This doctor will usually be a rheumatologist (a doctor specializing in arthritis). He or she can coordinate treatments and monitor the side effects from the various medicines the person may take.
The following specialists treat other aspects of ankylosing spondylitis that affect different parts of the body:
- Physical or occupational therapist (supervises exercise regimens)
- Ophthalmologist (treats eye disease)
- Orthopedist (performs surgery on severely damaged joints).
Ankylosing Spondylitis Treatment Begins With YouStudies have shown that people who are well informed and participate actively in their own care have less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor than do other people with ankylosing spondylitis. Patient education and arthritis self-management programs, as well as support groups, help people to become better informed and to participate in their own care.
Self-management programs teach people about a number of things related to ankylosing spondylitis, including treatment, exercise and relaxation approaches, communication between patients and healthcare providers, and problem solving. Research on these programs has shown that they help people:
- Better understand ankylosing spondylitis
- Reduce their pain while remaining active
- Cope physically, emotionally, and mentally with the disease
- Feel greater control over the disease
- Build a sense of confidence in their ability to function and lead full, active, and independent lives.