Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that results in chronic (long-term) inflammation of the spine. The sacroiliac joints, located between the base of the spine and the pelvis, get inflamed in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). One of the initial symptoms of AS is this inflammation, which is also known as, sacroiliitis. The joints between the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column, are frequently affected by inflammation. This condition is known as spondylitis.
Some AS patients have excruciating, chronic back pain, hip pain and stiffness. Others have random, milder symptoms. The spine may become rigid due to new bone formations that eventually fuse vertebral segments. This condition is called ankylosis.
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis:
Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms often arise gradually over months or years and fluctuate with time. One of the early signs of ankylosing spondylitis that might keep you awake is lower back stiffness and pain, especially in the morning and at night. It is also possible to experience pain in the large joints, including the hips and shoulders.
Other symptoms may include:
When to see a doctor?
If you experience lower back pain that has been slowly getting worse over time, experience pain in the morning or when you are sleeping at night, it’s time to be alert. Especially if a pain that gets better with activity but gets worse while you are at rest, should be discussed with your doctor.
Doctors at Medicover can help you get the right treatment and management for Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Causes and Risk Factors :
Ankylosing spondylitis has no known specific cause. The inflammation can lead to new bone formation, which can lead to fusion and lasting injury. However, doctors are still unclear about why AS patients have this persistent inflammatory reaction. However, the disease frequently runs in families. Both hereditary and environmental factors may contribute to AS.
Risk factors :
Ankylosing spondylitis is more common in men than women. The HLA-B27 gene is primarily present in those with ankylosing spondylitis. However, many individuals with this gene never get ankylosing spondylitis.
Suffering from Ankylosing spondylitis can lead to other health issues and complications including:
In more severe cases, the body tries to fix damaged bone structures by forming new bone. Eventually, the new bone occupies the space between the vertebrae and fuses them.
Some people with ankylosing spondylitis have thin bones. Due to the vertebrae's weak state and the possibility of rupture, this posture might become stooped or slumped.
Eye inflammation (uveitis)
An eye inflammation is a typical side effect of ankylosing spondylosis and is characterised by sudden onset of eye discomfort, sensitivity to light, and impaired vision.
Aortitis, a disorder caused by swelling of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, is a complication of ankylosing spondylitis. Aortic valve disease may arise from this.
People with ankylosing spondylitis have a very low chance of developing the extremely rare disorder known as amyloidosis, in which the protein amyloid builds up in organs such as the heart, lung, or liver.
Although back pain is its primary symptom, AS can be difficult to identify. Since the condition affects men significantly more frequently than women, a diagnosis may be even more difficult for women.
A single test to confirm AS does not exist either. The symptoms, a physical examination, and blood tests may all be used by a doctor.
An MRI or an X-ray may also be performed. However, this isn't always helpful because imaging examinations may not immediately detect joint injury.
The symptoms, age, and overall health will all affect how you are treated. The severity of the ailment will also be a factor. Treatment aims to lessen discomfort and stiffness, avoid abnormalities and preserve a normal lifestyle as much as possible. Treatment options include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat inflammation and discomfort
- Tumor-necrosis-factor blockers (biologic drugs) to lessen oedema and inflammation
- DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic medications) to reduce inflammation and manage AS include sulfasalazine.
- Using corticosteroids for a brief period to lessen inflammation.
- Using the muscle relaxants and painkillers for a brief period to alleviate extreme pain and muscle spasms.
- Surgery to remove a section of the thickened and hardened bone, repair a joint, or insert rods in the spine.
- Maintaining proper posture
- Regular exercising, especially back muscle strengthening routines.
Lifestyle Changes and Selfcare:
Some things you do daily can help you feel better.
- Schedule some time every day, even a few minutes for activity like swimming which improves the symptoms
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on your joints. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be of assistance. If you believe particular meals may cause changes in how you feel, look for trends.
- Avoid smoking because people who smoke frequently experience symptoms that worsen with age.
- Do massage, yoga, meditation, and counselling to reduce stress.
- While using cold on inflamed areas, apply heat to stiff joints and tight muscles.
Dos and Don’ts
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is accompanied by pain and inflammation in the spine and pelvis. Additionally, this condition can lead to the growth and fusion of spinal segments, which causes stiffness and immobility. Although there is no permanent cure for AS, you can control your symptoms with medicines. So following the below do's, and don'ts can help you manage it.
||Avoid taking medicines as prescribed regularly.
|Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
|| Fall for fad diets
|Avoid poor posture
||Drink too much alcohol.
|Eat a well-balanced diet
||Use thick pillows while sleeping
|Avoid chronic stress
||Lift heavy weights.
To fight this condition, take care of yourself and keep yourself strong internally while seeking adequate medical care.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Care at Medicover
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted group of doctors and healthcare professionals who are skilled in providing the best medical treatment to our patients with compassion and care. To conduct the necessary investigations for diagnosing Ankylosing Spondylitis, our diagnostic department is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Our excellent team of rheumatologists, orthopedists and physiotherapists use a systematic approach to identifying and treating the condition. They provide required medical or surgical treatment as well as physical therapy to treat this condition with great precision.