Ankylosing Spondylitis or Spinal Arthritis

Back | Orthopaedics | Ankylosing Spondylitis or Spinal Arthritis (Disease)


Ankylosing spondylitis is a persistent inflammation and stiffening of the joints, usually affecting the spine and pelvis. Ankylosing spondylitis shares many features with several other arthritis conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis (formerly called Reiters disease), and arthritis associated with Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.

The main symptoms include: lower back pain, which may spread down into the buttocks and thighs; lower back stiffness that may be worse in the morning and improves with exercise; pain in other joints, such as the hips, knees, and shoulders; pain and tenderness in the heels; tiredness, weight loss, and mild fever.

Other common symptoms are generalized fatigue and sometimes nausea. Less commonly, aortitis, apical lung fibrosis and ectasia of the sacral nerve root sheaths may occur. In some people, ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation or damage to tissues in areas other than the joints, such as the eyes.

Causes and Risk factors

The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is believed to be genetically inherited, and a majority (nearly 90%) of people with ankylosing spondylitis are born with a gene known as the HLA-B27 gene.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is based on evaluating the patients symptoms, a physical examination, X-ray findings (radiographs), and blood tests.

Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis is aimed at relieving the symptoms and preventing the development of spinal deformity. ...

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