Spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that predominantly affects the
spine (backbone). "Ankylosing" means stiff or rigid, "spondyl" means
spine and "itis" means inflammation - a process that causes pain and
Spondylitis is painful, progressive and rheumatic disease in which some
or all of the joints and bones of the spine fuse together. In Anklyosing
Spondylitis, the main site of inflammation is at the attachment of
ligaments and capsules with bones. The condition starts at the base of
the spine and spreads upward to the rest of the vertebral column,
affecting joints between the ribs and backbone or breastbone, and causes
chest pain. The shoulders, knees, ankles and heels may also be affected.
inflammation of the eye may occur when Anklyosing Spondylitis effects
the iris and its attachment to the outer wall of the eye. The first
indicator of such a condition is the slight blurring of vision in one
eye, but the main symptom would be sharp pain with dramatically
bloodshot eye. Seek treatment promptly to avoid permanent damage.
Spondylitis is a chronic disease that usually starts in the mid-twenties
but may affect children or teenagers. Males are also more likely to
suffer from Anklyosing Spondylitis than females. In children, Anklyosing
Spondylitis tends to affect areas such as the knees, ankles, feet, hips
and buttocks. Back pain is usually rare in youngsters. However, the
condition may lead to persistent hip disease that can be carried into
their adult lives, with severe conditions requiring hip replacements.
of Anklyosing Spondylitis
- Slow or gradual back pain and
stiffness over weeks or months.
- Stiffness and pain in the morning,
wearing off or reducing (with exercise) as the day progresses.
- Persistent pain for more than three
- Pain subsides with exercise but
becomes worse with rest
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling feverish and night sweats
and Treatment of Anklyosing Spondylitis
While it is
the doctor's responsibility to relieve pain, it is the patients job to
manage their own condition. Treatment and management of Anklyosing
Spondylitis is designed to reduce pain and stiffness so that regular
activities can be continued.
1. Maintain a
proper posture at all times - Whether sleeping, sitting or standing, the
patient must make every effort to keep the spine straight, as Anklyosing
Spondylitis tends to cause flexion of the spine, so that the joints do
not fuse into undesirable positions.
2. Rest in
prone position - While it is important to lie flat on their back,
Anklyosing Spondylitis suffers should spend 20 minutes lying on the face
(prone position) before getting up in the morning and before retiring to
bed. This regular routine will prevent the patient's back and hips from
3. Sleep on
firm bed mattresses - If the mattress is too yielding, an abnormal
spinal curvature may develop in the Anklyosing Spondylitis patient. High
chairs with a firm seat and an upright, firm back support are best for
people with Anklyosing Spondylitis to keep their spine in a good
regularly - The doctor or physiotherapist will suggest a programmed of
exercise to be done daily. This will help people with Anklyosing
Spondylitis to keep posture and activity as normal as possible.
Medications to help relieve pain and stiffness - Patients will probably
be first prescribed a drug from the class of drugs known as
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications help
to relive pain and stiffness. A new class of arthritis/ analgesic
medications known as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) specific inhibitor (coxib)
is now available. Patients should check with their doctors on the most
suitable medication and dosage.
smartly - It is important for Anklyosing Spondylitis sufferers to pay
close attention to the position of their backs at work. When seated at a
desk or bench, they should adjust their seat to the proper height and
try to move from time to time.
treatments - Surgery is usually used to reduce pain and restore movement
to joints that have been damaged by arthritis. Artificial joint
replacement surgery of the hip and spinal surgery are sometimes
performed on Anklyosing Spondylitis sufferers.
Anklyosing Spondylitis should stop smoking as the disease causes reduced
chest expansion and can be complicated by lung involvement. Patients
with eye problems such as pain, red eyes or reduced vision should seek
immediate consultation with an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for
inflammation of the iris.
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