350,000 Germans affected by the rheumatic disease
Approximately 350,000 people in Germany suffer from chronic inflammatory joint disease Bechterew's disease. The first symptoms such as back pain and morning stiffness usually appear between the ages of 15 and 40. In advanced stages, rheumatic autoimmune disease leads to ossification of the spine due to inflammation of the small vertebral joints. Genetic factors seem to play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In many sufferers, doctors find a certain genetic trait that is often linked to a faulty reaction in the immune system. Bechterew's disease is considered incurable. Nevertheless, there are hardly any people today who suffer from an advanced stage of the disease because many therapies can alleviate the disease. An overview:
Medicines - as little as possible, as much as necessary
Rheumatologists usually treat Bechterew's disease initially with anti-inflammatory pain relievers. They improve back and joint pain. In addition, there are biologicals, e.g. B. TNF blockers, used to relieve inflammation. Medicines not only improve the quality of life, they also enable physiotherapy measures to counteract spinal stiffening, ”explains Univ.-Doz. Dr. Bertram Hölzl, scientific director of the Gasteiner Heilstollen, the world's largest therapy center for ankylosing spondylitis. This means that medication can be saved again later.
Therapy without medication
With ankylosing spondylitis, it is important to train posture, mobility and stamina throughout your life to prevent the risk of stiffening of the spine. There are special therapies for this, such as so-called storage on wooden rolls. Nutrition is just as important. "Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, unsaturated vegetable fats, reduced-fat dairy products, fish and soya counteract the autoimmune process," adds Dr. Hölzl. Meat and alcohol, on the other hand, should be reduced and smoking should be avoided entirely. As with other rheumatic diseases, heat and cold therapies also help with ankylosing spondylitis. They relieve pain and stiffness by promoting blood circulation. So the body is kept flexible.
Cures - strengthen health awareness
Radon therapy is good for many patients. Radon releases mild alpha rays in the body, which stimulate cell repair mechanisms and reduce the activity of inflammatory cells and pain relievers. A combination of radon and heat is most effective. Scientific studies confirm this so-called radon heat therapy success rates between 80 and 90 percent. "It reduces pressure pain waves, pain intensity, functional restrictions and medication consumption," says Dr. Radon heat therapy usually takes place as part of a multi-week course.
Patients drive inside a mountain in which the healing climate occurs naturally. As part of the cure, patients also benefit from targeted health-promoting programs. "If well-trained physiotherapists and a wide variety of medical offers are available, a cure can also provide an impulse to change your lifestyle," added Hölzl. Special patient training helps people with ankylosing spondylitis to learn how to control the course of their disease positively. (pm)