Spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spinal vertebrae and facet joints. A common form of this condition is called ankylosing spondylitis. This progressive condition can cause vertebral swelling and lead to chronic joint inflammation, especially in the lower back and the sacroiliac joint, which is situated between the spine and the pelvis. Eventually, the inflammation can cause vertebrae to fuse together, resulting in immobility and other issues.
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Early signs of the condition are back pain and stiffness that worsen after periods of inactivity. Because this type of discomfort is relatively common, it can be easy to ignore. However, it is important to seek a prompt and accurate diagnosis, especially if the symptoms are accompanied by psoriasis or a previously confirmed diagnosis of osteoporosis. If left untreated, ankylosing spondylitis can lead to more serious health issues over time, such as:
- Reduced spinal flexibility as enlarged vertebrae begin to fuse together
- Decreased range of motion when bending, twisting or turning the body
- Pronounced spinal rigidity that can cause an affected individual to take on a hunched-forward posture and even have difficulty lifting his or her chin
- Inflammation of the eyes (uveitis), which can cause pain, light sensitivity and blurred vision
- Inflammation of other bones and joints, including the ribs, hips and shoulders
- Breathing difficulties due to inflammation around the ribs
- Fracturing of weakened and damaged bones
- Inflammation of organs such as the heart, lungs or bowels
Even though ankylosing spondylitis has no cure, symptoms and other issues can be addressed with prompt and appropriate treatment. For instance, many people are able to experience relief with conservative treatments like physical therapy, spinal injections, hot and cold compression therapy, back braces, pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
If you have been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, contact our specialists at Spine & Orthopedic Center at 888-409-8006. our caring team can help you learn more about conservative treatments to help relieve your chronic back pain related to your condition.