Aids for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis

Being a young adult with ankylosing spondylitis
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By Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD, as reported to Kara Mayer Robinson

To successfully treat ankylosing spondylitis (AS), I recommend being active, staying social, and living your life the way you want, as much as possible.

Many of today’s tools, devices and technologies are designed specifically for people with AS and can help you achieve this.

tools and gadgets

You can find many tools and gadgets online and at local medical supply stores. If you’re the DIY type, you can build some yourself.

Adjustable bed rail

When it’s time to get in or out of bed, a railing gives you a steady footing that reduces your risk of falling while helping you feel more stable and in control.

These devices come with suction cups for stability and can be adjusted to fit your bed. Some even have pockets for books and glasses.

Padded seat

A padded seat that supports you when you get up from a seated position can take a lot of strain off your hips and muscles. This can prevent unnecessary fighting and falls. Choose one that suits you best based on your height and weight.

Dressing aids with buttons

When everyday tasks like buttoning up feel painful, there are many ways you can help. There are many grippers and devices that make these tasks easier.

You can find gadgets to help you put on socks, put on your shoes, reach just beyond your fingertips, and more.

Thick kitchen mats

AS can make the kitchen a painful, uncomfortable place. That’s why I advise my patients to look for ways to improve their cooking as much as possible.

A good place to start is with a thick floor mat that will give your ankles, knees and hips extra padding.

These mats come in different sizes and thicknesses. As a bonus, they are often easier to clean than tile or other common kitchen surfaces.

Other kitchen appliances

Electronic devices such as can openers and electric stirrers can make cooking and preparing food easier. Gadgets designed for opening tabs on cans or unscrewing hard glass lids can really save your hands.

Kitchen multi-tools make things a little easier, as do specialty stands that hold your computer, e-reader, recipe book, or phone so you don’t have to bend over as much to read your recipes.

standing desk

In recent years, standing desks have grown in popularity. These desks can help prevent you from feeling sore while sitting at work. They can range from a stack of bricks to fancy desks that you can raise or lower at the touch of a button.


Custom-made insoles, such as gel shoe inserts, designed to fit the size of your foot can support your feet to facilitate activities. Stools and chairs that help you get up can also help with foot support to offset some of the burden of AS.

shower essentials

Staying stable and avoiding slips in the shower can be a challenge. Grab bars, non-slip mats, and a shower stool aren’t new concepts, but they’re still incredibly helpful in keeping you stable and preventing falls.

Additional pillows

For a truly good night’s sleep, you may need more than one pillow. A wedge pillow can support your torso or slide under your legs. A neck pillow supports your head and relieves your neck.

Tech-based tools

Advances in digital healthcare can help you better understand and manage AS.

health tracking apps

Many health apps will help you monitor and track your AS symptoms.

Using your digital device to manage and track your symptoms will give you a better understanding of how your pain levels are changing over time. This can help you adjust your lifestyle and reduce flare-ups.

I’ve seen overwhelming positive responses from patients who have noticed pain relief by doing something as simple as tracking their symptoms.

I urge my AS patients to also look at weight loss, sleep, and mental health apps. These can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re struggling with obesity, insomnia, or mental health issues.


If you can’t make it to your doctor’s office, telemedicine is a great option to address concerns about your AS symptoms.

During a virtual visit, your doctor can assess your pain and give you recommendations on how to spend your day with less pain.

Virtual Physiotherapy

Some smartphone apps offer at-home physical therapy that can improve your physical function and relieve your AS symptoms.

After a discussion with your doctor, you will be given exercises tailored to your range of motion and ability.

trial and error

Every body and its symptoms are unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to assisted treatment of AS.

Try a few options to see what works best for you. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works for your needs.


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Aids for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis
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