Treatments for axial spondyloarthritis focus on relieving pain and stiffness as well as decreasing joint swelling and inflammation, maintaining range of motion and flexibility, and prevention of joint damage and deformity and include medications, physical and occupational therapy, lifestyle modifications, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Medications – Medications for axial spondyloarthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen, ibuprofen, meloxicam, or indomethacin, to reduce pain and swelling, biologics, such as TNF alpha blockers; infliximab (Remicade), entanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), golimumab (Simponi), and IL-17 blockers, such as secukinumab (Simponi), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (sulfasalazine ) to relieve symptoms and prevent joint damage, and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
Physical therapy and regular exercise – Physical therapy and regular exercise are recommended for patients with axial spondyloarthritis to help improve extension of the spine and mobility, to preserve range of motion, to strengthen the neck and back, to maintain flexibility, and for improving posture. Swimming is a recommended exercise due to its low impact on joints.
Lifestyle adjustments – Individuals with axial spondylarthritis can benefit from lifestyle modifications, such as always maintaining good posture, sleeping on their back on a firm mattress, stopping smoking, using assistive devices as recommended by an occupational therapist for workplace accommodations, avoiding lifting or sitting too long, taking frequent breaks, eating a healthy diet, applying hot and cold treatments as needed, massage and relaxation techniques, acupuncture, and focusing on emotional wellness when dealing with a chronic disease.