Definition and causes of ankylosing spondylitis
This disorder is inflammation of the joints between the vertebra in the spinal column and in the sacroiliac joints which are the joints between the spine and the pelvis.
The condition may also affect large joints such as the hip joints.
The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is not known, but in some cases the disorder is connected with colitis – inflammation of the colon – or with the skin disorder psoriasis.
Ankylosing spondylitis appear to be hereditary in most cases with about 90% of the cases having the genetically identified histocompatibility antigen HLA-B27.
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include stiffness and pain in the hips and lower back that are worse after resting and particularly pronounced in the morning. Other, but rarer, symptoms might include chest pain and iritis (inflammation of the iris). Over time the disorder might lead to ankylosis which is a permanent stiffness and much reduced immobility of a joint and an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Diagnosis and treatment of ankylosing spondylitis
The condition can be diagnosed using blood tests or x-rays.
It is an incurable condition but exercises, stretching and physiotherapy helps maintain mobility and perhaps the best exercise is swimming.
Non – steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) can reduce the pain and movement limitation.
By keeping mobile and looking after your back ankylosing spondylitis is kept in relative check and patients can live a relatively normal life.