Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory disease that causes inflammation of the spine and inflammation of the joints in the areas between the pelvis and the spine. This chronic condition does not have one leading cause, although genetics may be a contributor. Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms can include pain and stiffness in the neck, back and sometimes hips. As the condition endures, an individual may also experience a stooping posture. Other ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may also include inflammation in the eyes, bowels, appetite loss and fatigue.
Pain and stiffness are common ankylosing spondylitis symptoms. The pain and stiffness is commonly located in the neck, back and often the hips. These symptoms may also extend into the portions of the upper body such as the shoulders and into the lower extremities such as the ankles and knees. For many people with ankylosing spondylitis, these ailments are often more severe in the morning, near bedtime or after extended periods of inactivity. Pain and stiffness caused by ankylosing spondylitis may range from mild to severe or nonexistent at times.
Over time, a stooping posture may develop as an ankylosing spondylitis symptom. Spine and spinal joint inflammation can lead to bones in the vertebra growing together. The fusion of the bones can cause the spine to become rigid. This can cause a stooping posture in the affected individual. The degree of stooping will vary from person to person and may depend on the severity of ankylosing spondylitis.
Other ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may include inflammation in other areas of the body. For example, some people have inflammation in the eyes. This condition is called uveitis. There may also be inflammation in the bowels. A decreased appetite, weight loss and ongoing fatigue may be some additional symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.
There are several different measures doctors may take to treat ankylosing spondylitis symptoms. To treat the pain, doctors may prescribe different types of pain medicines. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, may be used to treat mild pain. Corticosteriods may also be used to decrease the inflammation caused by ankylosing spondylitis.
Many people with this condition may also benefit from physical therapy. Often, exercise will help alleviate ankylosing spondylitis stiffness and pain. In addition, physical therapy can also help maintain a normal and upright posture. Although it is not a foremost treatment option, some individuals with severe ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may also be treated with surgery.