spondylitis is a rheumatic disease that causes arthritis of the spine and
spondylitis is a condition that affects the lower back. The term ankylosing spondylitis describes the nature of the disease- ‘ankylosing
’ which refers to ‘fusing
’ and ‘spondylitis
which refers to ‘inflammation of
Ankylosing spondylitis can result in
intermittent episodes of back pain that occur throughout life, or can occur in
the form of severe chronic disease that attacks the spine, peripheral joints
and other body organs resulting in severe
joint and back stiffness, loss of motion and deformity as life progresses
. It is a progressive
disease; the pelvic region is affected first followed by lower back, chest
wall, neck, shoulder, hips, knees, jaw, eyes, lungs, heart and bowel.
The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown and unclear. However, it may
have a genetic association.
spondylitis cannot be cured
. The treatment is aimed to relieve pain,
preserve joint mobility and prevent deformity of the spine.
The doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs
reduce the swelling and pain. Corticosteroids,
tumor necrosis factor inhibitors or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
can be used to calm the swelling and immune system. Surgery
is recommended if pain or joint damage is severe. Exercises and physiotherapy
improve posture and breathing.
Although ankylosing spondylitis is an irreversible
long-term condition, patients who get the right treatment can live relatively
normal and independent lives.