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Ankylosing Spondylitis

Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

Ankylosing spondylitis is a less common form of arthritis that affects your spine. At Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington,the highly skilled rheumatologists have considerable experience in diagnosing and treating ankylosing spondylitis. With their help, you can experience relief from pain and improved mobility. Call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today to schedule a consultation and to book an appointment. Or visit us online.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Q & A

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is an arthritic condition of the spine that can sometimes involve other joints. It's an inflammatory disease that most commonly develops when patients are in their teens or 20s. Ankylosing spondylitis is more likely to affect men than women.

When you have ankylosing spondylitis, it means that ligament inflammation in your spine is causing the vertebrae to fuse.

Why would I get ankylosing spondylitis?

More than 90% of the people who get ankylosing spondylitis have the HLA-B27 genetic marker in their white blood cells.

However, if you have HLA-B27, that doesn't mean you'll necessarily get ankylosing spondylitis. Only 1 in 5 people with the HLA-B27 marker gets ankylosing spondylitis.

What are the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?

Typical ankylosing spondylitis symptoms include low back and neck pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Stiffness is likely worse when you get up in the morning, and more often than not, improves with exercise. Rest is unlikely to relieve these symptoms.

The back and neck problems could deteriorate and leave you with severe pain, restricted movement, and in some cases, kyphosis (a hunched back). 

Another common musculoskeletal symptom of ankylosing spondylitis is joint pain. This might be especially noticeable in your hips, shoulders, knees, and chest wall.

Other problems that can affect people with ankylosing spondylitis include uveitis (inflammation of the eye), and rarely, heart and lung disorders. It's important to have your eye, heart, and lung function checked regularly if your Arthritis Northwest PLLC provider diagnoses ankylosing spondylitis.

There's no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but starting treatment as early as possible reduces the risk of complications and improves your outlook.

What treatments are available for ankylosing spondylitis?

Physical therapy is essential in treating ankylosing spondylitis. The exercises your physical therapist shows you help to improve your posture and maintain flexibility in your spine. 

Stretching and strengthening exercises can also help keep your chest wall muscles active and your lungs in good working order.

Some patients find anti-inflammatory medications sufficient to reduce inflammation and manage their pain. Others benefit from more potent treatments like joint and epidural steroid injections to control pain.

Other medications that can help relieve ankylosing spondylitis symptoms include tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers like infliximab or adalimumab and interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitors.

To find out more about living successfully with ankylosing spondylitis, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC today to schedule a consultation and to book an appointment. Or visit us online.