Ankylosing Spondylitis

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.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease

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:

Bone deformities

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.

Compression fractures

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.

Heart problems

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.

Treatment :

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.

Do’s Don’ts
Excercise regularly. 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory condition primarily affecting the spine. It causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the back and can lead to fusion of the spine's vertebrae.

2. What are the common symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Common symptoms include back pain and stiffness, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity. Fatigue and discomfort in the hips, buttocks, and upper back are common.

3. What are the causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

The exact cause is unknown, but genetic factors play a significant role. A specific gene called HLA-B27 is often associated with a higher risk of developing Ankylosing Spondylitis.

4. How is Ankylosing Spondylitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history, physical exams, and imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs. The presence of the HLA-B27 gene can also aid in diagnosis.

5. Is there a cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Currently, there's no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, but there are effective treatments available that can help manage symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.

6. What are the available treatment options for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Treatment may involve a combination of medication, physical therapy, exercise, and lifestyle adjustments. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and biologic medicines are commonly used.

7. Can lifestyle changes help manage Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Yes, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and quitting smoking can be vital in managing symptoms and improving overall well-being.

8. How does exercise benefit individuals with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Exercise can help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and maintain mobility. A tailored exercise program prescribed by a healthcare professional is essential for the best results.

9. Is Ankylosing Spondylitis hereditary?

Yes, genetics can play a role in developing Ankylosing Spondylitis. If a close family member has the condition, your risk of developing it may be higher.

10. Can Ankylosing Spondylitis affect other body parts besides the spine?

Yes, Ankylosing Spondylitis can affect other joints, such as the hips, shoulders, and knees. It can also lead to inflammation in the eyes, heart, and lungs in some cases.