Ankylosing spondylitis overview

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic condition that causes pain and inflammation of the spine and sacroiliac joints (the joints between the sacrum and the pelvis) as well as increased stiffness and limited mobility as the condition continues to develop. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your physician as soon as possible. Diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis early can help to treat the condition before your symptoms worsen.

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. Therefore, if someone in your immediate family has ankylosing spondylitis, you are more likely to develop the condition. Men are also far more likely to suffer from this relatively rare form of spinal arthritis than women.

In addition 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 discomfort so you can continue to live your life and perform your daily activities. To learn more about the symptoms of this condition and possible treatment options, read the following article.

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 harden, and soft tissue connecting each vertebra can transform into bone. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to complete fusion of the spine and the onset of serious spinal deformity. Less prominent symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include inflammation of the eyes, kyphosis (an exaggerated bending of the spine), inflammatory bowel disease and fatigue.

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, chiropractic care and cortisone injections are also 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 as a way to delay spinal fusion.

If the conservative treatments do not offer relief and the condition continues to progress, surgery may be recommended 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 spine care needs. Contact us to discuss your surgery options and learn about the variety of degenerative spine conditions that we do treat with our minimally invasive spine surgery.