Definition

Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease which affects more men than women.  In this the vertebrae in your back tend to fuse together causing a hunched posture and lack of flexibility.  In some cases, ribs may also get affected causing difficulty in breathing.

 Symptoms

The early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are quite erratic and as time progresses, the symptoms may either worsen, persists, or go away altogether.  Most common symptoms occur in the following areas.

Hip and shoulder joints.
Joints between the base of your spine and pelvis.
Vertebrae in your lower back.
Spine and back of your heel.
Places were tendons and ligaments are attached.
Cartilage between the breast bone and ribs.

It is advised to seek medical attention if pain in your lower back or buttocks worsens in the morning or even if it keeps you awake at night.

Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that put you at risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

Sex

Men are more likely to develop this condition than women.

Heredity

Most cases of ankylosing spondylitis carry the HLA B27 human leukocyte antigen gene.  However, in many cases those missing the gene have also developed the condition.

Age

Ankylosing spondylitis occurs mostly in late adolescents and young adulthood.

Diagnosis

In order to make the correct diagnosis, your doctor may run a basic physical exam in which he may ask you bend your back in different ways.  The doctor may check your chests circumference.  The doctor may also search for pain points by pressing on different portions of your pelvis.  Following this, your doctor may suggest the following tests and scans to see what further treatment needs to be administered.

Imaging tests such as x-ray and MRI scan, blood tests, and other lab tests to check for inflammation and to rule out any other possibility treatment.

Treatment

The treatment for ankylosing spondylitis can be divided into:

Medication:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Naprosyn, indomethacin, and Indocin are the medications doctors most commonly used to treat such a condition.  If the pain and discomfort still persists, the doctor may prescribe TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers such as

Adalimumab (Humira)
Adalimumab-atto (Amjevita), a biosimilar to Humira.
Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
Etanercept-szzs (Ereizi), a biosimilar to Enbrel.
Golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria)
Infliximab (Remicade)

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is the most common and best known nonsurgical therapeutic method to treat ankylosing spondylitis by improving flexibility and physical strength.

Surgery

Surgery is only recommended for patients with chronic cases.  Most cases of ankylosing spondylitis can be treated without surgery.

Written by ebu8077

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