Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of disease affecting the spine. It causes some of the vertebral column of the spine to join together leading to hunched forward posture. Initial symptoms of the disease begin in adulthood and the intensity of disorder may range from mild to severe. Exact cause of this rare disease is not known and unfortunately it cannot be cured. Pain killers can help to alleviate the symptoms temporarily.
Initial signs of ankylosing spondylitis can be observed even before adulthood. It would cause constant pain with stiffness in the back and hip region. Often the sacroiliac joints are affected. It can cause fusion of the lowermost vertebrae of the spine with that of ilium of the pelvis. In severe cases this disease can lead to fusion of bones leading to distorted posture. The bones of the neck and back portion can get affected making the person difficult to carryout routine tasks. The overall posture of the person can get severely affected leading to permanent hunch.
In addition to the bones, spondylitis can also affect the ligaments and tendons causing intense pain and stiffness. The cartilage between the rib cage and breastbone can get affected. For some people, pain may worsen over time and for others it may improve. Often the pain and stiffness is severe in the morning and may improve after physical activity. The pain on the lower back region starts slowly and gets worse over time.
It is believed to occur due to genetic mutation of defective genes, but exact cause is still not known. People diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis would carry HLA B27 gene which is likely to cause this disorder.
Read more on Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Risk Factors :
Anybody can develop ankylosing spondylitis but as per the available data men are more prone to get this problem than women. The symptoms would begin in early adulthood or later part of adolescence. A person with family history of spondylitis is likely to develop this disease in future.
Fusion of some bones of the spine can affect your normal function. The spine can become stiff and rigid causing difficulty in carrying out routine work. In severe cases the rib cage can get stiffened causing breathing problem. For some people, spondylitis can cause inflammation of eyes leading to blurred vision. It can also cause compression fractures due to thinning of bones. In rare cases, ankylosing spondylitis can cause heart problems when it disturbs the shape of aortic valve that passes through your spine.
Your doctor can detect spondylitis by physical examination. He may ask you to perform certain movements in various directions to check whether you feel pain. He may order for X-rays of spinal cord to check for fusion of bones. In case of problem he may do MRI scan to get accurate picture of the bones.
Pictures of Ankylosing Spondylitis :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Ankylosing Spondylitis
There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis. Treatment is available for managing stiffness of bones and pain. Early intervention can prevent further complications leading to spinal deformity. You need to start the treatment before the disease causes irreversible damage. To reduce joint stiffness and rigidity your doctor may prescribe medications like Naproxen or Indocin. They are group of drugs belonging to NSAID category.
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In some cases TNF Tumor Necrosis Factor blockers are given to reduce stiffness and to manage pain. The doctor may give you a shot of drug through Intramuscular or intravenous line, depending on the severity of the pain. Some of the effective TNF blockers are Adalimumab, Infliximab and Etanercept. Doing physiotherapy is effective in reliving the symptoms. Regular therapy can help you overcome stiffness of joints and the muscles would gain flexibility. You need to follow the instructions of your therapist in performing certain stretching exercises so that your joints would remain in good posture. In extreme cases, surgery is done to mange severe joint pain. Hip joint replacement surgery is the last option for people with advanced spondylitis.