Back pain is a common complaint of chiropractic patients today, but certain conditions cause more unique symptoms that give professionals a better idea of what they are dealing with. In the case of ankylosing spondylitis, a very limited range of motion in the back and pelvis after persistent pain is sometimes enough to clue chiropractors in to the specific condition.
Limited range of motion can be damaging to patients. At Ideal Spine, we encourage chiropractors to become skilled at identifying range of motion loss as well as in treating it through varied methods to improve each patient’s quality of life. In order to do this effectively, thorough testing is required.
How ankylosing spondylitis affects range of motion
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis largely affecting the spine. It can cause significant inflammation along the spine, resulting in stiffness in the back, as well as potentially in the knees, hips, and shoulders.
Persistent inflammation from ankylosing spondylitis often causes the joints and vertebrae to actually fuse together over time. This is due to the body’s healing response as it grows new bone and scar tissue at the inflamed areas of the spine. These fusions are usually weak but can cause rigidity in the spine, preventing flexible movement. Not all patients will experience this severe form of the condition, but many do.
Both the inflammation and the fusion can have a negative impact on the patient’s range of motion, prohibiting complete movement in one or multiple directions.
Identifying poor range of motion in your practice
When a patient is suspected to suffer from ankylosing spondylitis, it’s important to begin by testing their current range of motion capabilities. This provides a baseline before you create a treatment plan to potentially improve the conditions in the spine.
By evaluating the degree of mobility in different segments of the body – including the trunk, shoulders, hips, and knees – you may be able to tell almost immediately where the patient experiences symptoms of the condition the most.
Have the patient walk, sit, squat, and bend forward and backward as part of this testing, since many patients experience pain and stiffness around the sacroiliac (SI) joints. The areas of pain and those with limited movement will be the ones that should be targeted, in particular – particularly if the range of motion loss interferes with daily life.
Additional scans may be necessary to truly determine where new bone growth and fusion may be significantly hindering range of motion, versus where inflammation is merely causing stiffness.
Treatments for addressing ankylosing spondylitis mobility problems
There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, so a treatment plan using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) methods is generally the best possible response. The earlier the condition is discovered, the more easily treatment may be able to stall symptoms. It can be difficult to ease more severe symptoms brought on by years of fusion and stiffness from the chronic inflammation.
Most chiropractic ankylosing spondylitis treatment plans include routine exercises and stretches to help stabilize the spine, strengthen muscles to support the spine and joints, and increase flexibility.
Rotating and moving certain body parts may be tough for people with ankylosing spondylitis, particularly in the hips and pelvic region. Slow but persistent stretching may help improve the range of motions in these and other areas, potentially alleviating discomfort while the patient moves.
By implementing Ideal Spine’s holistic approached to chiropractic testing and treatment, you may be able to significantly increase your ankylosing spondylitis patients’ mobility and comfort.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.