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Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis Definition

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic degenerative inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing a painful and eventual fusion of the spine. When complete fusion occurs and results in complete spine rigidity, it becomes a condition known as “bamboo spine”.

Ankylosing spondylitis Symptoms and Signs

Ankylosing spondylitis usually occurs in young people, aged 15 to 30, with stiffness and chronic pain in the lower spine. Men are more affected by Ankylosing spondylitis than women are. Over 40% of Ankylosing spondylitis cases are associated with anterior uveitis that causes eye pains and increased light sensitivity. Other symptoms associated with Ankylosing spondylitis include fatigue and mouth ulcers. Pain can shift from one side of the spine to the other. Early symptoms may occur at extremely young age, around 3 years old, when the child experiences painful, recurring joints. This condition is usually mistaken for rheumatism. Ankylosing spondylitis can also be symptoms of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, Reiter's disease and psoriasis.

Ankylosing spondylitis Treatment

Ankylosing spondylitis has no known cure. However, treatments are available to reduce its symptoms. Physical therapy is commonly used in conjunction with exercise and medication. Physical therapy and exercise reduces inflammation and pain commonly experienced with Ankylosing spondylitis since active inflammatory phase will make the pain worse. Three types of medications are recommended in treating Ankylosing spondylitis – analgesics, DMARDs and TNF blockers. Surgery can also be an option for joint replacements in severe cases.

Drugs used for treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis


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