What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis or AS is a rare form of chronic, progressive arthritis. It affects the spine by fusing two or more vertebrae, thus making is less flexible and increasingly stiff. Over time, this fusing of the vertebrae may result in a hunched over or stooped posture.

This progressive bone disease affects men more than it affects women. Initial symptoms usually surface as early as during a person’s teens or early adulthood.

Symptoms of AS

The early signs include pain and stiffness in the lower back especially in the morning and after a considerable period of inactivity.

  • Pain and stiffness in the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, back, and joints
  • Fatigue
  • AS sometimes causes the growth of bones between two vertebrae which fuses them and limits movements.
  • Pain in tendons and ligaments especially in the heel region and along the spine

Causes of AS

There is no specific cause that has been identified for developing AS, although genetics can be a contributing factor.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is based on–

  • Symptoms
  • X-ray of your back or joints. CT/MRI scan could also be used
  • Physical examination

Treatment

It’s a progressive form of a bone disease that does not have any cure. However, early diagnosis and treatment can control the symptoms of pain, stiffness, and swelling. It can also decrease the chances of severe deformity and reduce the progression of the disease.

Treatment aims at preserving the abilities to move comfortably and reduce discomfort, pain, and swelling. Treatment for a person with AS generally includes:

  • Low impact exercises like swimming
  • Breathing exercises as it can also affect the rib cage making it difficult to breath
  • Medications for anti-inflammation and pain relief. Steroid injections are also used to treat AS.
  • Surgery is performed on people who have a very advanced form of the disease.

At your first doctor’s visit, be sure to make a list of the following:

  • Note down all your symptoms
  • Whether they come and go in intervals or do they have a pattern
  • Your medical history
  • Nutrition History
  • And questions you need to ask your doctor

At One Life, we have a holistic pain management system in place where we involve physiotherapists, caregivers, skilled nurses and other experts based on the needs of the patient. We also liaise with your primary physician to ensure optimum treatment. We educate and work with the patients and their families and customize a program to enable reduction of pain.For more information, call us on our toll-free number 1800 425 19999.

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