Symptoms – pain, stiffness, and potentially loss of motion of the spine and pain, stiffness and swelling of joints including the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
Early detection is needed to prevent loss of flexibility particular of the spine.
In contrast to most other forms of arthritis, men are much more commonly affected than women.
There is a strong hereditary pattern to the disease which can be detected with a blood test which is called HLAB27
Ankylosing Spondylitis is closely related to a group of diseases called the Spondyloarthropathies which include other conditions which cause inflammatory diseases of the spine: Psoriasis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease), Uveitis (an inflammatory condition of the eye) and Reiter’s Syndrome (a condition which causes urethral, eye and joint inflammation). The inheritance of the HLAB27 gene in all of these conditions explains their similarities.
Testing requires evaluation for the presence of psoriasis, and bowel disease, the may be accomplished by taking a medical history and physical examination. Carefully examining joint and measuring motion of the spine including the neck, mid and low back. These areas should be regularly examined to insure that mobility is not being lost with the passage of time.
Treatment – the most important treatment is the establishment and continuation of an exercise program focused on spinal and joint mobility. This is often accomplished by treatment and instruction provided by one of our Physical Therapists. Medications may include anti-inflammatories; Azulfidine (Sulfasalazine) and biologic medications such as Humira and Remicade.