Age and its connection to spondylitis

Spondylitis describes a group of chronic arthritis diseases that are often referred to as spondyloarthritis. This condition primarily affects the spine and is categorized by inflammation of the facet joints or the vertebrae. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, with hereditary and genetic factors thought to play a key role. Unlike spinal osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative condition caused by aging, Spondylitis often develops in younger patients, often between the ages of 15 to 35, who have inherited rheumatic or autoimmune diseases.

If you are suffering from spondylitis and looking for treatment, a great first step in finding relief is to educate yourself as a patient. By learning more about this condition and the effects it can have on the body, you can better work with your doctor to find the relief you deserve.

How spondylitis affects the body

Spondylitis is known to cause fatigue, pain, joint immobility and an increase in fracture susceptibility. It can also result in the following conditions:

  • Enthesitis. Inflammation of the area where ligaments or joint capsules attach to bones, which can lead to warm pain, throbbing and tenderness.
  • Ossification. Due to inflammation of joints, multiple cycles of bone repair can lead to abnormal ossification, or bone growth. In severe cases, bones and ligaments can actually fuse together.
  • Neuropathy. This is a term for pain and other symptoms caused by neural compression or damage. Abnormally inflamed or enlarged components of the spinal anatomy due to spondylitis can exert stress on nearby nerves.

Relieving the pain of spondylitis

There is no cure for spondylitis, though conservative treatments can focus on reducing inflammation. Many patients have found nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs helpful, along with corticosteroid injections and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, treatment. You may also be recommended to attend physical therapy sessions to improve range of motion. If nonsurgical treatment proves ineffective, your physician may suggest surgeries, such as an osteotomy, fusion or laminectomy.

Laser Spine Institute does not offer minimally invasive spine surgery to treat spondylitis, but our team can help direct you to treatments to help relieve your chronic pain.