Spondylitis — definition and overview of this condition

Patients who are diagnosed with spondylitis may experience some confusion when researching the definition and causes of spondylitis.

Spondylitis is a term used to describe several spine conditions that cause swelling and inflammation in the joints and vertebrae of the spine. The term spondylitis is derived from the Greek word “spondylo,” which refers to the spinal vertebrae. The suffix -itis is a common medical suffix used to denote inflammation. So the combination of these roots defines spondylitis as inflammation of the vertebrae.

Symptoms of spondylitis

Spondylitis often presents itself in stiffness and limited mobility of the spine. Generally, the vertebrae become inflamed from arthritis and compress the joints between the vertebrae. The joints eventually wear down and deteriorate, causing the vertebrae to rub against each other with no padding. In severe cases of spondylitis, the vertebrae can fuse together, causing a deformity and limiting movement in that section of the spine.

While each person experiences spondylitis differently, the most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Stiffness in the spine and back
  • Limited mobility and range of motion in spine
  • Chronic pain in back and extremities
  • Increased pain with movement
  • Abnormal spine curvature
  • Inability to walk, stand or sit for extended periods of time

If left untreated, spondylitis can fuse together the vertebrae and cause very severely limited mobility. In some cases, the spine may become deformed and have an irregular curvature due to fused vertebrae.

Treatments available for spondylitis

While spondylitis is not a curable condition, there are several treatment options that can decrease the pain associated with spondylitis. Upon diagnosis of this condition, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment to help manage symptoms. Conservative treatments include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Pain medication
  • Yoga
  • Spinal injections
  • Exercises and stretches at home

Conservative treatments can be done in conjunction with one another for better results. If you do not find lasting relief from conservative treatments, you may want to consider spine surgery to relieve your chronic pain.

Laser Spine Institute does not offer minimally invasive surgery to treat spondylitis. However, our caring team can help you learn more about the treatment options available for this condition when you contact them.