1. Myth or Fact? Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Only Affects the Back
2. Ankylosing Spondylitis Primarily Occurs in the Elderly
3. Ankylosing Spondylitis is Easily Curable
4. 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.
5. 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
Treatment for AS involves a multi-stepped approach: medication, exercise and/or physical therapy, applying heat/cold for muscle relaxation and to relieve joint pain. Joining an ankylosing spondylitis support group may provide benefits.
6. 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.
7. Drug Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis is Always Expensive
8. Ankylosing Spondylitis Leads to Severe Disability
9. There is Little I Can Do to Help Myself
Studies have shown a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (found in cold water or oily fish like salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts) can reduce joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and there is some evidence it might be helpful in ankylosing spondylitis.
10. If NSAIDs Don’t Work, My Treatment Options Are Limited
11. Aren’t TNF Blocker Side Effects Dangerous?
12. TNF Blockers Are All the Same, So It Does Not Matter Which One I Use
Costs can vary, too. Be sure to check with your insurance carrier for their covered TNF blockers, which will save you money. If you do not have insurance, call the manufacturer to inquire about patient assistance programs. Remember, many patients experience significant improvements in their AS using a TNF blocker, no matter which one they use.
13. TNF Blocker Injections Rarely Cause Skin Reactions
14. TNF Blockers Can’t Help Slow Damage in AS
15. 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.
16. If TNF Blockers Don’t Work, There Aren’t Any Other Options
In 2016, the FDA approved Cosentyx for AS, offering a totally new type of treatment option.
Cosentyx: Expanding The Range Of Treatments For AS
Studies have shown that 61% of patients had an improvement of at least 20% in their AS symptoms after 16 weeks of Cosentyx treatment, with 36% experiencing over 40% improvement. Many of these patients had failed to respond to or were intolerant of biologics.