How To Live Healthy With nr-axSpA (VIDEO) | MySpondylitisTeam

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How To Live Healthy With nr-axSpA (VIDEO)

Medically reviewed by Siddharth Tambar, M.D.
Written by Ted Samson
Updated on January 2, 2024
Part of the nr-axSpA Doctor Visit Checklist series

Lifestyle Changes

1........2........3........4........Chapter 5

These interactive videos let you quickly find the answer to each question. Simply click on the key moments button at the top of the video, then click the question to jump directly to the answer.

Key Moments in This Video:

  • Can exercise help me feel better?
  • Can my diet make a difference?
  • What about supplements?
  • How can stress reduction help?

    Medications like biologics are an integral part of your nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) treatment plan. However, embracing healthy lifestyle changes to support your mind and body can help you feel better, faster.

    Remember you’re not in this alone — your doctor can suggest ways to improve your physical health. They can recommend personalized exercises and stretches, and even refer you to a physical therapist to help get you started. They can also tell you about anti-inflammatory diets, like the Mediterranean diet. These diets are high in whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins and low in sugars, processed foods, and saturated fats. Research has shown they can help people with nr-axSpA feel better.

    Don’t underestimate the importance of your mental and emotional health, either. Be honest with your doctor if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression — symptoms that are common in people with chronic conditions. Your doctor can recommend medications, counseling, stress-reducing practices like meditation, support groups, and other ways to boost your spirits and your well-being.

    Watch this video for guidance on how to talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes. From there, check out other videos in this series on how to start a conversation about nr-axSpA treatments with your doctor, how to discuss biologic therapy and potential side effects, and ways to stick with your treatment.

    Have more questions? See if they’re among the top three questions rheumatologist Dr. Siddharth Tambar gets about nr-axSpA.

    Talk With Others Who Understand

    On MySpondylitisTeam — the social network for people with spondylitis and their loved ones — members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with spondylitis.

    Have you and your rheumatologist had a conversation about lifestyle changes for nr-axSpA? What has or hasn’t worked? What other questions do you have? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

    Read More From the nr-axSpA Doctor Visit Checklist Series

    Transcript

    [Actor Portrayal]

    00:00:05:00 - 00:00:09:02
    Patient
    Besides starting treatment with a biologic, is there anything else I can do to feel better?

    00:00:09:12 - 00:00:16:00
    Doctor
    Exercise is key. It may sound strange, but the more regularly you exercise and do stretches, the better you’ll feel.

    00:00:16:07 - 00:00:17:09
    Patient
    OK. I didn’t know that.

    00:00:17:14 - 00:00:22:05
    Doctor
    I can refer you to a physical therapist that can help you get started with some safe exercises.

    00:00:22:14 - 00:00:27:07
    Patient
    I’m not sure my insurance will cover a physical therapist, and I can’t afford one on my own.

    00:00:27:14 - 00:00:32:17
    Doctor
    I can share some free resources that have safe exercises and stretches that can help you.

    00:00:32:23 - 00:00:37:01
    Patient
    That would be great. Thank you. Can my diet make a difference?

    00:00:37:07 - 00:00:56:04
    Doctor
    There’s some evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet can help some people with axSpA feel better. There are several types of anti-inflammatory diets, like the Mediterranean diet. They tend to be high in fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and low in sugar, processed foods, and saturated fats.

    00:00:56:16 - 00:00:58:00
    Patient
    What about supplements?

    00:00:58:07 - 00:01:10:19
    Doctor
    It depends. Some supplements can cause problems. Always let me know if you try a new supplement. I can help you make sure it’s a safe dosage and not something that can interact with other medications that you take.

    00:01:11:01 - 00:01:13:03
    Patient
    Are there any other ways I can feel better?

    00:01:13:09 - 00:01:24:18
    Doctor
    Yes, several. Look for ways to reduce stress. Stress can make inflammation worse for some people. Do you have any hobbies, or do you get plenty of quality time with friends?

    00:01:24:23 - 00:01:26:07
    Patient
    Not as much as I’d like to.

    00:01:27:01 - 00:01:34:00
    Doctor
    Meditation or prayer, playing games, or music — anything that relieves stress can help you feel your best.

    00:01:34:07 - 00:01:35:02
    Patient
    I can do that.

    00:01:35:17 - 00:01:44:04
    Doctor
    And joining a support group in person or online can help you remember you’re not alone and get tips for what helps.

    00:01:44:10 - 00:01:44:22
    Patient
    OK.

    00:01:45:08 - 00:02:06:00
    Doctor
    At our follow-up appointments, please share with me if you’re having trouble with depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, they’re more common among people with conditions like axSpA. Your emotional well-being is just as important as treating your axSpA. I can connect you with resources that can help.

      Updated on January 2, 2024
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      Siddharth Tambar, M.D. is a rheumatologist in Chicago, Illinois. He is the owner of the clinic Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine. Learn more about him here.
      Ted Samson is a copy editor at MyHealthTeam. Learn more about him here.

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