I have seen this medical term on the internet, but I have never paid much attention to it. I wasn’t aware that it is an autoimmune disorder.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Simply put, Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints. It is non-organ specific.
It causes swelling between your vertebrae, which are the disks that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis.
Spondylitis can affect:
- The neck
- skin, and
Iritis, can cause eye pain, light sensitivity, and redness from inflammation inside the eye. Fortunately, treatments are available to improve comfort and vision when this occurs. Iritis is also commonly associated with spondylitis. To learn more about Iritis, click here.
Who is Affected
The disease is more common and more severe in men, and it often runs in families. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Could you have AS?
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Early symptoms include:
- back pain and
- stiffness especially in the morning after sleeping.
Over time, ankylosing spondylitis can fuse your vertebrae together, limiting movement. Symptoms can worsen or improve or stop altogether.
How is AS Diagnosed?
A rheumatologist is the specialist who can make the diagnosis of AS. The diagnosis is made with the following factors:
- A thorough physical exam
- individual medical history
- a family history of AS
- blood work, including a test for HLA-B27
Treatment for AS
Treatment may involve:
- physical therapy
- good posture practices
- and other options such as applying heat/cold to help relax muscles and reduce joint pain.
- In severe cases, posture correcting surgery may also be an option.
I’m glad I took the time to learn about this autoimmune disorder. I can empathize with people who are living with A S. I have had back pain all of my life and I had to have back surgery over twenty years ago.