Assistive Devices for Ankylosing Spondylitis – Medical News Today

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can cause mild to debilitating pain and stiffness, often in the spine. Assistive devices can help improve a person’s quality of life and increase their independence.

Over time, AS can cause the bones of the lower spine to fuse together. When this occurs, it can cause additional pain, stiffness, and issues with range of motion.

Assistive devices come in many forms and can help people with AS in a variety of ways, such as by providing pain relief and making everyday tasks easier.

This article reviews various assistive devices that people with AS may find helpful.

Medical devices are assistive devices that provide help in completing a specific therapeutic function. Medical professionals sometimes refer to them as durable medical equipment (DME).

Some DMEs that may help a person with AS are:

  • walkers or canes to assist in movement
  • braces or splints
  • custom orthotics

Because these devices help provide care, Medicare Part B and most private insurance companies will cover at least some of the costs.

To qualify for Medicare, a medical device needs to:

  • be durable enough to withstand repeated use
  • last at least 3 years
  • not generally work or be helpful for people who are not sick or injured
  • be used for medical reasons in the home

A person who needs payment assistance from Medicare or insurance should contact their coverage provider to make sure the provider covers the device they are considering.

Some tools and devices can help a person complete daily living tasks. While these typically do not qualify as DMEs, they can help a person maintain their independence and improve their overall quality of life.

Here are some examples of handy tools to keep around the house, car, and office:

  • Grabber-reachers: These simple devices allow a person to reach and grab items that are either up high or on the floor, limiting the amount a person needs to move to get the objects.
  • Zipper grips: A zipper grip attaches to the pull portion of a zipper and makes it easier to grab and pull a zipper when getting dressed or undressed.
  • Faucet grips/levers: Installing longer or larger levers on faucets can make accessing water easier.
  • Shoehorns: These limit the need to bend to put on shoes. Slip-on shoes may also help reduce bending.
  • Automatic pet feeders and waterers: These tools provide cats, dogs, and other pets with regular food and water and reduce the need to bend or lift heavy objects.
  • Electric openers: Electric can and bottle openers can assist people in removing lids and caps.
  • Tub or shower bars: These devices either attach or suction to the bathroom wall and provide help getting in and out of the tub or shower.
  • Car accessories: Wider mirrors, lumbar spine support pillows, support bars, steering assist knobs, and seatbelt bucklers can all help when driving or riding in a car.

Devices can allow for general improvements around the office to help a person with AS. These devices can help a person complete everyday tasks, help them feel …….



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