If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), you know that it takes more than a cup of coffee to get you moving in the morning. Back pain and stiffness tend to peak after inactivity, like sleeping. This happens because inactivity causes inflammation in the joints that cause swelling, stiffness, and pain. What can you do to make your mornings more manageable?
The Night Before
To help make your morning better, create an evening routine that takes some stress out of your morning. One thing you can do the night before is to pack your lunch for the next day so all you have to do is grab it and go. You can also set out your clothes for the next day before turning in. There are 2 things you don’t have to worry about in the morning.
Another idea is to set your alarm a little earlier than usual to allow yourself time to move slowly in the morning. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to rush when your body is sore and in pain.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important to make sure you’re able to focus during the day. But, how do you get a good night’s sleep? The first thing is to invest in a quality mattress, preferably one that’s firm to support your back. It’s also wise to use a small pillow contoured to help support your neck. If that’s not comfortable for you, forego the pillow to prevent your spine from curving upward.
To ease back pain, it’s recommended that you sleep flat on your back and alternate to lying flat on your stomach. This position helps to stretch your spine and hips, helping to ease the discomfort and pain from Ankylosing Spondylitis.
In the Morning
Heat therapy, such as thermal baths and mudpacks, has been proven to help lessen the pain of AS. If you don’t have access to those, keep your heating pad beside your bed. When you wake up in the morning, turn it on and slip it under the blankets. Relax with it for about 20 minutes, but make sure it’s not too hot to avoid getting burned.
A hot shower will also help relieve stiffness and soreness as a result of AS. While in the shower, do some light stretching. The combination of the hot water and stretching can help dissipate your symptoms faster.
Be sure you’re following your doctor’s orders when managing your AS. Seeking treatment from a chiropractor will also help alleviate your symptoms and help you learn new ways to manage your AS.
To your health,
Dr. Roger Sahoury