By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash
Ankylosing spondylitis is a long term type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling of the vertebrae and many times these vertebrae can fuse together making the spine more immobile with an awkward, hunched-like posture. This condition is more common in men and to date, there is no cure for it. However, there are a variety of treatments that can help alleviate pain and reduce the development of symptoms. There is no known cause of the disease, but genetics may play a role in it.
What are the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?
Symptoms usually develop in early adulthood and develop over time. Initially, symptoms may be minimal such as stiffness in the lower back or hips, especially after being stationary for a period of time or after a long night of sleep. Usually symptoms will become more prominent as time progresses, and you may feel it in various parts of the spine, such as the lower back, pelvis, hips, shoulder joints, or between the breastbone and ribs.
If you have these symptoms, they are worsening, or if you are living with chronic pain or having difficulty taking deep breaths, contact your doctor right away. Your doctor will examine you and will likely run some imaging tests such as x-ray, MRI, or CT scan to get a better look at what’s going on. If you are diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, your doctor will go over a treatment plan to help relieve pain and delay any additional complications associated with the condition.
For more information, contact Dr. Cash for an appointment at www.disclv.com.