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Danubius Health Spa Resort Sovata Balneotherapy for the treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disease predominantly affecting the spinal column
(in Greek ankylos=stiffening and spondylos=vertebra) in young men, possibly triggered by an environmental factor (or factors) in those who are genetically predisposed (HLAB27+, 95% of cases).

Keynotes for AS: bilateral bony fusion of the sacroiliac joints and enthesitis- inflammation at the sites of attachment to bones of: ligaments, tendons or joint capsules potentially anywhere in the body, involving waves of flare-ups. Each wave is followed by erosions/fibrosis and then calcification/ossification of the ligaments and joint capsules at the inflammation points, ultimately causing ankylosis (fusion) of the affected joints, especially the spine, lower limbs and shoulders.

AS is three times more common in men than women and usually begins around 30 years of age.

Symptoms. During waves of flare-up: pain + stiffness in the lower back, chest, hip/knee/ankle, pseudosciatica and between waves and in the latter stages – loss of normal range of movement (spine, ribcage, shoulders, hips) affecting the activities of daily living resulting in chronical fatigue and depression.

Even though the overall functional outcome is not life threatening in the long term, AS causes several serious problems:

  • the fusion of the spine damages the nervous system and consequently the function of internal organs
  • the fusion of the chest damages breathing and lowers oxygen intake affecting tissues and internal organs

 AS is usually associated with:

  • teenagers or adults aged less than 45 years
  • lower back pain (especially night- during rest) and progressive stiffness (especially morning- after rest) which worsens with inactivity and is improved by movement. It is accompanied by waves of flare up, which last for more than 3 months and are alleviated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) within 48 hours.
  • others: pseudosciatica = buttock pain extending on posterior thigh not lower than the knee, on one side or alternating from side to side; ribcage stiffness or sternal pain limiting chest movements during breathing; transient hip pain, pain in one knee or one ankle.
If AS is suspected, it is necessary to visit a rheumatologist doctor to establish a clear diagnosis (including an MRI, which is able to detect inflammation of the sacroiliac joints earlier than an x-ray) and efficient treatment.
If AS is diagnosed, it is necessary to have periodical visits to a rheumatologist doctor in order to avoid complications.

The main goals in AS treatment are:

  • to ensure a good quality of life: control of pain; improvement of flexibility in the lumbar/cervical spine, ribcage.
  • to help the person stay in employment.

An effective treatment which is able to reverse the vicious circle: pain (enthesitis)- stiffness (calcification) – pain, requires a multimodal approach:

  • a decrease in pain in order to allow the patient to be able to move (physical therapy, drug therapy if required)
  • an increase in flexibility through heat and movement, to prevent deformities and ankylosis of spine, shoulders, etc.

Movement in warm water and thermotherapy plays a key role in treatment of AS.

Spa treatment at Danubius Health spa resort Sovata ensures both of these at the highest level, due to
the salt water (NaCl 150g/l), whole-body mud packs (both extracted from Bear Lake) and swimming pools.
In addition, all physical treatments recommended in AS (listed above) can be found at DHSR-Sovata.

Indications for AS Sovata treatment:
1.    Suspected AS
2.    Confirmed axial or peripheral
3.    AS  4 months after flare-up:
•    Severe axial AS in treatment with anti-TNFalpha
•    Peripheral AS in treatment with Sulphasalazin
4. Any form of confirmed AS with complications, (4 month after the start of treatment of the complication and if the complication is stable and if the guest has had a recent check up of either/or – eyes, heart, lung, inflammatory bowel diseases).

(In all cases the treatment will be adapted according to the clinical findings in the spa.)

Improvement in flexibility, endurance and respiratory function usually lasts between 3-6 months after treatment.
Treatment is recommended twice a year.      
      
Length of treatment: optimal 2 weeks (30 procedures)/ optional 1 week (15 procedures)
Price: 230 Euro (30 procedures); 120 Euro (15 procedures)

Danubius Health spa resort Sovata ensures a complete multimodal treatment
for guests suffering of Ankylosing spondylitis

Danubius Hotels Group
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