Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease of a young male. Typical complaints is stiffness in the lower back which is more noticeable in he morning. This stiffness typically decreases with activity and increases with rest. The patient may also report myalgia and multiple joint pains along with. Symptoms typically appear in early adulthood and include reduced flexibility in the spine. This reduced flexibility eventually results in a hunched-forward posture. Pain in the back and joints is common. Ankylosing Spondylitis has an auto-immune component, whereby body destroys its own self considering it an outside antigen. The auto-immune pathology is a multi-system disease and involves eyes other than musculoskeletal system. The disease may remain an enigma and may be treated commonly as a low back strain or as a disc issue for a long time. With extensive work up showing typical signs, your doctor will ascertain the diagnosis.
Typical finding is of a Sacro-illeitis which is resistant to pain killers. Sacro-illeitis refers to the inflammation of the junction of the hip and the spine. In fulminant cases or patients presenting at a later age, there may be a fixed deformity of the spine. It may also be associated with shortness of breath and inability to perform activities of daily living. Neck and upper back stiffness is also common.
An early diagnosis of the problem is imperative to control disease activity. The problem can not be completely eliminated and may requires a long term treatment to take disease into remission phase. Radiologico-clinco-hematological correlation is essential to diagnose a patient to have Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Medical treatment is the mainstay of this disease along with functional rehabilitation. Recent introduction of biological therapies and alternative medicine have also resulted in good functional outcomes. An integrated approach involving the Orthopaedic, Immunologist and Physical therapist is essential for complete diagnosis and treatment. It is often advised to have a routine follow up for keeping the disease in remission.