Ankylosing Spondylitis: Symptoms and Treatments

Most degenerative spine conditions are associated with old age. However, ankylosing spondylitis is different, as it affects many young people. This is disheartening, especially for those who were planning to pursue a career in sports or other physically active jobs.

The good news is that the doctors at our Camden spine center can help you keep this condition under control and enjoy an improved quality of life. Here is what you need to know about this spinal condition.

What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis and How Widespread Is It?

Ankylosing spondylitis represents the fusing between the vertebrae in the spine. This is the result of spine inflammation, placing the condition in the larger group of health issues generically called arthritis.

As a result of the fusing of the vertebrae, the spine becomes less flexible. In time, the patients will have a hunched posture. In some cases, the ribs can also be affected by fusing. One of the consequences of this is the difficulty in taking deep breaths.

How to Recognize the Condition

Patients should not wait until they notice the hunched position and the severely reduced range of motion. It is important to recognize the first signs of ankylosing spondylitis and come to our Camden spine center to be diagnosed.

Most patients start experiencing:

  • Pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips
  • Neck pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain.

These symptoms become more acute after a long period of inactivity, for example immediately after waking up in the morning.

Complications of Ankylosing Spondylitis

It is important to know that this condition does not only affect the spine. In time, it can trigger the onset of other health problems, some of which are very severe:

  • Heart disease, including arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy
  • Chest pain
  • Cauda equine syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Uveitis – a painful inflammation of the eyes.

degenerative spine conditions can appear even in young age

Also, the hunched posture will become more pronounced, until the patient develops a condition called kyphosis – an abnormal forward curvature of the spine.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing This Spine Condition?

There is no clear reason why people develop ankylosing spondylitis. Doctors know that it starts in late adolescence/early youth and that men are more predisposed to develop it than women.

Also, about 95% of patients have a variation of the HLA-B human leukocyte antigen-B. However, this is not a risk factor per se, because 80% of the people with this gene mutation do not develop ankylosing spondylitis.

However, other risk factors that may favor the onset of the condition are:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Ulcerative colitis.

Available Treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Unfortunately, there is no treatment to cure this condition. However, modern therapies help patients have a good quality of life, by slowing down joint damage and managing pain and inflammation.

Our doctors rely on several types of treatment to help patients with ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Medication management
  • Caudal steroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Kyphoplasty to repair vertebra bone and reduce the risk of spinal deformity
  • Chiropractic to help restore range of movements.

Schedule an Initial Appointment at Our Camden Spine Center!

Living with ankylosing spondylitis does not have to be painful and restrictive. You can enjoy a normal life, doing your job, performing chores around the home, and indulging in your active hobbies.

The doctors at our Camden spine center will devise a personalized treatment plan to help maintain the normal curvature of your spine and maximize your range of motion. The sooner you start the treatment, the better the results will be.

So waste no more time. Call us today at 864-535-0144 to schedule your initial appointment for evaluation and diagnosis!