Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis – Know It All!


Ankylosing spondylitis -Know It All!

All you need to know about Ankylosing spondylitis

Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!

Ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis

Here we come with Ankylosing spondylitis today!

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Ankylosing spondylitis is also referred to as Bechterew’s disease.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes the joints and spine ligaments to become inflamed. The joints and ligaments inside the spine usually help us turn and bend. When you have ankylosing spondylitis, the inflammation in the spine‘s joints and tissues will cause stiffness over time. This can cause the vertebrae (bones within the spine) to fuse (grow together) in severe cases.

It can lead to a rigid and inflexible spine when the vertebrae fuse. Many people with ankylosing spondylitis have mild episodes of back pain and steadiness that come and go. But others have severe, ongoing pain in the spine, with loss of flexibility. Furthermore, other symptoms can occur if the disease affects other areas of the body — such as the hips, ribs, shoulders, knees, ankles, and feet.

Ankylosing spondylitis has no cure. Doctors recommend treatments that may include exercise and medication to help manage pain, control inflammation, improve body position and posture, and slow disease progression. Most people with ankylosing spondylitis may have productive lives with the treatment.

Ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis

Who Develops Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Anyone may develop ankylosing spondylitis; however, certain factors may increase the risk for spondylitis development. These considerations encompass the following:

  • Genetics and family history: If you have a family history of spondylitis ankylosing, then you are more likely to develop.
  • Age: Before age 45, the majority of people experience signs of ankylosing spondylitis. Nonetheless, Some people develop the illness when they are children or adolescents.
  • Sex: Men have a greater risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis than women.
  • Comorbidities. People with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or psoriasis might develop this disease.

What are the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Common symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Ankylosing spondylitis’s most common symptom is lower back and/or hip pain and Rigidity. The symptoms can spread to other parts of the spine over time. The discomfort is typical to worsen during periods of rest or inactivity which can lead to more painful experience for some people in the middle of the night or after an extended sitting. Usually moving and exercise can help reduce pain.

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis differ by person. Some people have very mild Pain symptoms that come and go, while others will suffer constant, intense pain.

Because the disease can affect other areas of the body, other symptoms may develop and may include: Pain, stiffness, and inflammation in other joints, such as the ribs, shoulders, knees, or feet. Difficulty taking deep breaths if the joints connecting the ribs are affected. Vision changes and eye pain due to uveitis, which is inflammation of the eye. Fatigue, or feeling very tired. Loss of appetite and weight loss. Skin rashes. Abdominal pain and lose bowel movements.

What are the causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Researchers do not know the cause of spondylitis ankylosing. Studies, however, show that both genes and environment can contribute to disease growth. Researchers know that the HLA-B27 gene increases the risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis, but this doesn’t mean that if you have the gene, you’ll get the condition. Some people carry the gene and never produce Spondylitis ankylosing, which indicates to researchers that environmental factors also play a role.

Ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis

Researchers keep discovering many other gene variations that could cause the disease; however, HLA-B27 is the primary gene that increases your risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis.

How is Ankylosing Spondylitis diagnosed?

To diagnose ankylosing spondylitis, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may order imaging studies and lab tests to help confirm a diagnosis.

Medical and Family History:

Your doctor may ask about your medical and family history, including questions such as: How long have you had pain? Where is your pain? What makes the pain better or worse? Does anyone in your family have a history of back pain, joint pain, or arthritis?

Physical Exam:

A physical exam may include: Examining your joints, including your spine, pelvis, heels, and chest. Watching how you move and bend in different directions, checking for flexibility. Asking you to breathe deeply to check for rib stiffness and inflammation.

Imaging Studies:

Your doctor may order imaging studies to help diagnose ankylosing spondylitis: X-rays help doctors see joint changes. However, you may have the disease for years before the changes show on x-rays. Doctors may use x-rays to monitor the progression of the disease or to rule out other causes for the joint pain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses energy from a powerful magnet to produce signals that create a series of cross-sectional images. These images or “slices” are analyzed by a computer to produce an image of the joint. MRI can help diagnose ankylosing spondylitis in the early stages of the disease.

Your doctor may use both x-rays and MRIs to follow the progression of your disease. Lab tests At this time, no single test diagnoses ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor may order a blood test to check for the HLA-B27 gene, which is present in most people with the disease. You may have the HLA-B27 gene and never develop ankylosing spondylitis, but it can give doctors more information when making a diagnosis.

What is the treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis?

There is no actual cure for the disease as of now but the symptoms can be mitigated by the doctor’s advice. Most people with ankylosing spondylitis take drugs, one or more of which may include:

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, which are widely used to treat ankylosing spondylitis, to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Biologic medicines target different immune signals and block the signal, helping to reduce inflammation or to avoid it. Such pharmaceutical drugs can be recommended if the illness does not respond to other treatments.

Corticosteroids can help reduce the inflammation and provide some relief for the pain. Usually, they are inserted into the joint. The doctor will decide how much and how many doses you will undergo to achieve the desired effect, as they are active medications.

Physical therapy helps lead a normal life, slowing down the disease progression. Surgery also helps in some cases.

How to Cope up with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Research shows that people who participate in their own care report less pain and do fewer visits to the doctor. They enjoy a better quality of life too. Caring for yourself will help you control your ankylosing spondylitis and improve your health.

You Should:

  • Communicate well with your healthcare team so that you can control your illness more.
  • Get support to help cope with the physical, emotional, and mental effects of spondylitis ankylosing.
  • Participate in your treatment and should help create confidence in your abilities to carry out everyday tasks, allowing you to lead a complete, healthy, and independent life.

Changes in lifestyle and activities that follow can help improve your ability to function on your own and maintain a positive outlook.

Exercise is important in keeping muscles healthy and strong, preserving joint mobility and maintaining flexibility. Your doctor may recommend low-impact exercises, such as water exercise programs, besides an exercise program, talk to your health care providers before any exercise program commences.

Exercise can help manage Ankylosing spondylitis :

  1. Improve sleep.
  2. Cut down on suffering.
  3. Hold a positive attitude.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Posture.
  • Another important thing you should do is practise good posture on your own. Your doctor and physiotherapist will give you advice and exercises to help preserve and improve your posture. Practising a good posture will help you prevent some of the problems that ankylosing spondylitis will bring.
  • Aid or assist equipment. Using a cane or a walker will help you comfortably get about, provide support and minimize discomfort. When you have trouble bending due to a rigid spine, try to catch or select objects using a tool.
  • Monitoring your symptoms for any changes, or developing new symptoms, is critical. Understanding your symptoms and how they can shift will help the doctor and you control the discomfort when you have a flare.
  • The emotions you can experience due to your illness, along with any discomfort, physical restrictions, and the unpredictable nature of flares, can increase your level of stress. While there is no proof that stress plays a role in your disease, it can make it difficult to live with ankylosing spondylitis. Might include ways to cope with stress:
  • Using calming methods such as deep breathing, meditation or listening to sound or music that is silent.
  • Consider fitness programs like yoga and tai chi on the move.
  • Managing Mental Health. Speak to your doctor or mental health provider if you feel isolated, nervous or distressed about getting ankylosing spondylitis. Keep the Contact Lines open. Discuss your disease with relatives and friends. Joining an online or community support group might be helpful.
  • A balanced diet is good for everyone and if you have ankylosing spondylitis it can be very beneficial. For people with ankylosing spondylitis, there is no particular diet but it is necessary to maintain a healthy weight. It cuts down tension on sore joints.
  • If you are smoking, just quit. In people who smoke, ankylosing spondylitis is more severe and smoking blunts the benefit of the medication. However, if you have ankylosing spondylitis in your chest or ribs, smoking can also further impair your lung function. Smoking is likewise a risk factor for disease progression.


Boos N, Aebi M (2008). Spinal Disorders: Fundamentals of Diagnosis and Treatment. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 25. ISBN 9783540690917


Gopala Krishna Varshith,

Content Developer & Editor,