Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic condition that causes pain and inflammation of the discs, the facet joints (the joints between the vertebrae) and the sacroiliac joints (the joints between the sacrum and the pelvis). Patients suffering from ankylosing spondylitis may experience chronic pain at the location of the inflamed discs and joints, as well as increased stiffness and limited mobility as the condition continues to develop. If you are experiencing these conditions, you should consult your physician as soon as possible. Diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis early can help to treat the condition before much pain and limited mobility is experienced.
The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown, but many researchers believe there is a genetic correlation between the disease and the patients who develop it. There are a few risk factors for developing this condition. Men are far more likely to suffer from this relatively rare form of spinal arthritis. If someone in your immediate family has ankylosing spondylitis, you are more likely to develop the condition, as well.
In additional to there being no known cause of ankylosing spondylitis, there is also no known cure. However, your physician can help you find treatments that can reduce your pain and symptoms so you can continue to live your life and perform your daily activities.
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis develop gradually. The first indication of the condition is commonly pain and stiffness in the hips and the lower back. As the disease progresses, the vertebrae and adjacent ligaments can begin to calcify, and soft tissue connecting each vertebrae can begin to ossify, or transform into bone. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to complete fusion of the spine and the onset of serious spinal deformity. Other, less-prominent symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include inflammation of the eyes, kyphosis (an exaggerated bending of the spine), fatigue and other inflammatory symptoms.
Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis
In its early stages, treatment of ankylosing spondylitis is aimed at reducing the symptoms and pain caused by the condition. Physical therapy, pain medication, cortisone injections and other non-surgical treatments are used to help decompress the impacted nerve roots in the spinal canal, thus reducing pain signals being sent to the brain. Another goal of early treatment is to maintain spinal flexibility in order to retard spinal fusion.
If the conservative treatments do not offer relief and the condition continues to progress, surgery may be necessary to help prevent full spinal fusion and paralysis of the spine. Laser Spine Institute does not treat ankylosing spondylitis, but we can help you find a surgical option that fits your needs. Contact us to discuss your surgery options and let us help you find a surgery center or hospital that can help you treat your ankylosing spondylitis.