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Making Your Home Safer

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023

Living with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) can be both painful and exhausting. When dealing with the sometimes disabling effects of axSpA, it is important to make your home a safe and comfortable place.1,2

Making certain changes to your home can help keep you comfortable and make it easier to manage your symptoms. Small changes can help relieve pain, give you more energy, and enable you to enjoy life more.1,2

Support good posture

Because axSpA affects your spine, maintaining and supporting your posture is crucial. Certain changes to your home can help you keep good posture. Consider how the design of your home can make everyday activities easier and more comfortable. Ways to create a space that supports good posture include:3,4

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  • Make sure that things you often use, like light switches, door handles, and remote controls, are close by when you are sitting or standing up.
  • Use furniture that has adjustable seat heights, backrests, and armrests.
  • Use lumbar pillows to provide extra support when sitting for long periods.
  • Raise up items such as keyboards or phones so you do not have to hunch over when using them.
  • Add pillows or towels on chairs, couches, beds, and other pieces of furniture for extra support where needed.
  • Use a sit-stand desk at work to mix sitting and standing. This varies your posture, which is helpful for those with axSpA.
  • Keep your spine “stacked” when possible. Keep your head directly over your shoulders and your hips aligned. Focusing on proper alignment can help ease some pain related to poor posture.
  • Stay active! It may be hard at times, but making exercise and activity part of your daily routine can keep you strong. All exercise can help, but activities like yoga can help you be more aware of your posture.

These changes can go a long way toward improving your posture while providing comfort and safety at home.

Prevent falls

Living with axSpA means you have a higher risk of falling or getting hurt due to balance and movement problems. Making changes around your home can help prevent or minimize any falls or trips. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from accidental falls:5,6

  • Use non-slip rugs and floor mats in areas where there is water, such as near sinks and showers.
  • Make sure all staircases have handrails.
  • Keep walkways clear from obstacles like rugs, furniture, cords, toys, and clothes.
  • Install bright lighting in hallways and stairs so they are easy to see at night.
  • Place grab bars near toilets, bathtubs or showers, and stairs.
  • If you need to, raise the mirrors where you brush your teeth or shave.
  • Use a shower bench or seat to avoid standing while showering.
  • Use nonslip soles on all shoes you wear, and make sure they fit well.

Get professional help

Getting help from a professional can be helpful when making changes to your home. Occupational therapists (OTs) are experts trained in home modifications and can give you advice based on your individual needs. They can also check how safe your home is and suggest changes to make it safer.7,8

With the help of an OT, you can create a supportive and comfortable home space that will help you manage your axSpA.7,8