What is spondylitis and how is it treated?

By Michael Perry, M.D.

Spondylitis is a rare spine condition that can cause severe stiffness and pain in the neck or back. If you have noticed a gradual or sudden onset of these symptoms, and they do not go away with rest and at-home therapies, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will perform a physical evaluation and order an imaging test to examine your spine. If you are diagnosed with spondylitis, the next step is to find a treatment option that helps alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with your spine condition. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for spondylitis. However, several spondylitis treatment options exist that can make living with this condition more manageable.

What is spondylitis?

Spondylitis is a medical term used to describe several spine conditions that cause the swelling and inflammation of vertebrae and joints in the spine. Spondylitis is a relatively uncommon spine condition, usually caused by genetics. While there are other risk factors for developing spondylitis, genetics seem to play the highest role in why certain individuals have this condition, which makes curing spondylitis impossible since no one can change his or her genetic makeup.

In severe cases of spondylitis, a patient may lose mobility or spinal movement because the vertebrae of the spine have fused together. Other severe cases of spondylitis may result in deformity and unnatural curvature of the spine. Consult your physician for spondylitis treatment options to help prevent or delay these symptoms.

Spondylitis treatment

Since there is no cure for spondylitis, treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms associated with spondylitis. It is generally recommended that patients begin their spondylitis treatment with conservative options, such as:

  • Prescription medication
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Exercises for spondylitis
  • Stretches and yoga
  • Lifestyle adjustments, such as weight loss

These are just a few examples and your physician may recommend additional conservative spondylitis treatment options. Your physician can help you decide which treatment option will best fit your needs and lifestyle. It is important that you schedule appointments with your physician regularly to check the progress of your condition and to report any pain or discomfort you experience during or immediately after your spondylitis treatment. If continual pain and discomfort occur, your physician can help you find an alternative treatment.

If you are not finding relief from conservative treatments, you may need to consider a surgical treatment option to help relieve the pain associated with spondylitis. There are certain open back surgeries that may help alleviate your pain and discomfort. Laser Spine Institute does not provide surgical treatment for spondylitis, but our team may be able to help you find a treatment option that is right for you. Contact us today to learn more.