What is Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition, in which the spine becomes inflammed.  Inflammation effects the joints between the vertebrae, causing pain and stiffness and goes on usually from a young adult age life long.  The pain and stiffness is often accompanied by progressive reduction in movement or flexibility of the back.  In some people with Ankylosing spondylitis also have involvement of other tissues, they may have inflammation of other joints of the knees and the hips, they may have inflammation episodically, in the eyes, iritis, or uveitis.  It can also devleop soriasis or flaky skin rash, or inflammatory bowel disease.  There are no completely acurate figures just how common this disease is, but it probably effects between 2 or 5 adults per thousand.  Anyone can be effected by Ankylosing spondylitis both men and women, in practice it is more common in people age between 18 and 30.  it does occur later in life.  When Ankylosing spondylitis begins, the common symptoms that people experience is pain and stiffness in the low back.  The more people rest, the stiffer the back becomes.  Ankylosing spondylitis can effect the chest if the thoracic spine is involved, the ribs may feel tight and that produces sense of tightness in the chest, discomfort on twisting, or taking a deep breath.  People often experience buttock pain, this may radiate down the back of the thigh and sometimes the people get discomfort in the neck as well that often occurs, later than earlier in the disease.  There are a lot of treatments available for Ankylosing spondylitis, but none of them can cure it.  Occosionaly the disease becomes quiscent and seems to settle down, but most people it goes on more or less life long.  Most people needs some sort of pain killing drugs, many needs to take antiinflammatory drugs and there is a wide range of nonsteroid antiinflammatory drugs which are often helpful.  If the disease is particularly severe, and inspite of these medicines, life is very difficult.   There is new range of drugs called TNF blocker drugs which are also widely used now, generally speaking these are kind of things that you need to discuss with a rheumatoilogist.  The key to all of the treatment is physical activity.

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