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Axial Spondyloarthritis

Arthritis Northwest PLLC -  - Rheumatology

Arthritis Northwest PLLC

Rheumatology located in Spokane, WA & Spokane Valley, WA

About 5.5 million Americans have axial spondyloarthritis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects your spine. If you have chronic low back pain, axial spondyloarthritis could be the problem. The inflammatory disease experts at Arthritis Northwest PLLC in Spokane, Washington, can help. Call the office to arrange your assessment now. Or visit us online.

Axial Spondyloarthritis Q & A

What is axial spondyloarthritis?

Axial spondyloarthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs within the spine and sacroiliac (SI) joints. This type of arthritis causes pain in your spine, hips, and buttocks. 

The disease has two types, including:

Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis

Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis causes symptoms, but the changes within your joints aren't visible on X-ray images. All cases of axial spondyloarthritis begin as non-radiographic. The disease may or may not progress to radiographic spondyloarthritis. 

Radiographic axial spondyloarthritis

Radiographic axial spondyloarthritis causes the same symptoms as the non-radiographic type, but they’re clear on X-ray images.

Axial spondyloarthritis eventually can develop into ankylosing spondylitis, in which severe inflammation causes your spinal vertebrae to fuse. This can cause extreme spinal rigidity. 

Regardless of the form of axial spondyloarthritis you have, it's important to seek treatment for the pain before it slows you down or causes you to miss activities you enjoy. 

Unlike other types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis primarily affects young people, typically starting in adolescence or in the 20s. It's far more common in men.

What are the symptoms of axial spondyloarthritis?

Axial spondyloarthritis causes low back pain, which can be severe. Many people also experience hip and buttock pain. Usually, the pain is most severe at night. Your pain may lessen when you're moving or exercising and then increase when you're resting. 

In addition to spinal pain, axial spondyloarthritis can cause severe spine stiffness. This can make it difficult to bend down or make other movements that you may take for granted. 

What causes axial spondyloarthritis?

A certain genetic marker, HLA-B27, occurs in 9 of 10 Caucasians with axial spondyloarthritis. In African Americans with the disease, that gene is less prevalent. Up to 30 other genes may cause axial spondyloarthritis. Environment and risk factors may play a role as well. 

How is axial spondyloarthritis treated?

There are many treatment approaches for axial spondyloarthritis, including:

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can increase your spinal flexibility and help you move more comfortably. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 

NSAIDs can offer significant relief for many cases of axial spondyloarthritis. 

Corticosteroid injections

If you have joint swelling in one particular part of your spine, you may need corticosteroid injections to ease inflammation. 

Oral corticosteroids aren't a preferred treatment option for axial spondyloarthritis because the high dose needed can cause severe side effects. 


Biologic medications are drugs that you receive via injection or infusion. Arthritis Northwest PLLC has an on-site infusion suite for comfortable infusions. 

For help with axial spondyloarthritis, call Arthritis Northwest PLLC to book an appointment today. Or, visit us online.