Ankylosing spondylitis or AS, is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. Overtime the bones in the spine can fuse. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched posture. If ribs are affected, it can be difficult to breathe deeply.
Ankylosing spondylitis affects men more often than women.
There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but treatments can lessen symptoms and maintain the effects of exercise.
• Pain in the lower back and hips• Early morning stiffness • Neck pain • Fatigue• Over time, symptoms might worsen, improve or stop at irregular intervals.
Seek medical attention if you have low back or buttock pain that came on slowly, is worse in the morning or awakens you from your sleep in the second half of the night — particularly if this pain improves with exercise and worsens with rest.
Ankylosing spondylitis has no known specific cause, though genetic factors seem to be involved.
MedicationsNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others). These medications can relieve pain and stiffness
If NSAIDs aren't helpful, your doctor might suggest starting a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocker or an interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitor. These drugs are injected under the skin or through an intravenous line.
TherapyPhysiotherapy is an important part of treatment and can provide a number of benefits, from pain relief to improved strength and flexibility. You will be taught• Range-of-motion and stretching exercises• Strengthening exercises for abdominal and back muscles• Proper sleeping and walking positions
Most people with ankylosing spondylitis don't need surgery. Surgery may be recommended if you have severe pain or if a hip joint is so damaged that it needs to be replaced
Lifestyle and home remediesLifestyle choices can also help manage ankylosing spondylitis.• Stay active. Exercise can help ease pain, maintain flexibility and improve your posture. Obesity and excess weight puts pressure on joints and bones, so exercises help to maintain your weight• Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit.• Practice good posture. Practicing standing straight in front of a mirror can help you avoid some of the problems associated with ankylosing spondylitis
Remember that even if you have AS and are experiencing only mild symptoms, which you are able to manage well, it is important to see your rheumatologist once a year in order to detect and treat any underlying complications