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Ankylosing spondylitis treatment

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What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of axial spondyloarthritis that causes damage to the spine visible on an X-ray. The causes of the condition are unknown, but scientists believe there are genetic factors that predispose some people to the disease. Ankylosing spondylitis affects more men than women and commonly appears between the ages of 17 and 45.


If left untreated, ankylosing spondylitis can cause the vertebrae in the spine to fuse together over time, resulting in less flexibility and a hunched forward posture. As the disease progresses, the sacroiliac joints are almost always affected. These are the joints between the spine and the pelvis. The disease is chronic, although with varying severity, and features periods of flares and remission.

Ankylosing spondylitis disease treatment

Symptoms and causes

The pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis most commonly occurs in the sacroiliac joints, where the spine connects to the pelvis, so patients feel pain in the lower back, hips, and buttocks area. Patients can also feel stiffness, especially in the morning. Pain typically comes on gradually over a period of time. Patients may also experience a low-grade fever and loss of appetite as well as fatigue and anemia.


Other areas of the body may also be affected, including pain in other joints, bowel inflammation and eye inflammation. In fact, around one-third of patients with ankylosing spondylitis experience eye inflammation. Symptoms are red, watery or painful eyes, blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

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Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic condition, and its severity varies greatly by a patient. Those with a family history of the condition or with frequent gastrointestinal issues are considered more at risk for developing the disease. Treatments for ankylosing spondylitis include medication, physical therapy, exercise, the use of hot and cold compresses, and surgery for the most severe cases.


Recommended medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, corticosteroids, biologics and other stronger drugs. Eating a healthy diet, especially getting enough calcium and vitamin D, is recommended to help manage symptoms. Regular exercise, with a focus on stretching, may also relieve the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. The most common surgical procedure is a hip replacement.

Treating Ankylosing spondylitis


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FAQs about AS

  • Is osteoarthritis a disability?
    Osteoarthritis is a chronic and painful condition that can be disabling as it affects the ability to perform daily tasks or work. The condition is classified as a disability when there’s anatomical deformity of joints, a failing range of motion, and increased pain that prevents doing basic tasks like walking. Being a type of arthritis, Osteoarthritis is the reduction of cartilage between the joints that causes friction between the bones that can result in the formation of bone spurs and cysts and usually affects the hands, hips, knees, feet, and compression of the spinal nerves or spinal cord.
  • Is osteoarthritis hereditary?
    While Osteoarthritis cannot be directly linked to a specific cause, there are common factors that have been identified. It is possible that it’s genetic where multiple family members suffer from the condition. If your grandparents, parents, and siblings have Osteoarthritis, there is an increased risk of you getting it, particularly with genetic joint defects. If you do have symptoms of joint pain, it’s important to gather medical history from your family before seeing a doctor as diagnosis relies on this information together with a physical examination. Other causes are also likely such as years of sport that can affect joints.
  • Can I claim pip for osteoarthritis?
    If you are medically diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and it’s affecting your ability to work and earn an income, you may be able to claim Social Security disability benefits. People aged 16 years and over may qualify for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as a benefit to provide support in covering additional costs due to a long-term health condition or disability. PIP is paid when Osteoarthritis has a disabling effect on everyday life where load-bearing joints, like hands, feet, hips, knees, and spine are affected. It is a progressive joint disease that can worsen over time.
  • Can osteoarthritis spread?
    The risk of developing Osteoarthritis increases with age. Many people over 60 years are likely to have some form of the condition with varying degrees of severity. It is an incurable, degenerative disease that progresses through four stages, which can take years or decades to spread. While the progression of Osteoarthritis cannot be stopped, early detection and therapy can slow the rate of degeneration. It usually starts in one large joint and typically spreads to other joints over time. One affected joint can alter movement and mobility, which in turn can affect the alignment of other joints predisposing them to Osteoarthritis.
  • What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
    Symptoms of Osteoarthritis slowly develop over time and initially start with pain and stiffness that doesn’t go away. Affected joints start hurting during or after movement and stiffness will be especially noticeable in the mornings or after a period of inactivity. Joints feel tender when any pressure is applied on or near the affected area. You may also start noticing a limited range of movement and loss of flexibility. Bone spurs, swelling and a grating sensation around the joints start occurring as the condition get worse. This is accompanied by popping or crackling sounds when moving the joints.

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