Arthritis is very common. However, what many people may not realize is that there are many different types of arthritis. Each has their own unique cause, which can produce similar or drastically different kinds of symptoms. Recognizing the form of arthritis that may be affecting you can help you reduce the pain and get better treatment.
People who have ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have a rarer form of arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis arthritis affects the areas around the spine of a person. Specifically, it mainly affects the spine and sacroiliac joints that connect a spine to a person’s pelvis. This condition features a lot of interesting aspects. Learn more about ankylosing spondylitis and management.
Ankylosing spondylitis works twofold. On one hand, people have to handle with the inflammatory arthritis aspects of it. On the other hand, it’s also an autoimmune disease. The immune system will attack the ligaments and tendons that are attached to the bone, which in turn causes the bone to erode.
In many cases, when the bones around the spine start to erode, it attempts to create new bone to heal. However, this is actually a trap. The close bones in the joints of the spine can fuse together. This fused spine greatly restricts movement and contributes to the painful symptoms.
Unlike some other conditions, the symptoms of people who are suffering from AS might vary in both type and severity from case to case. It’s also possible for the symptoms to start to occur at different times in each person’s life. Some people may start around the end of their teen years, through to others who may have the symptoms begin in their mid 40s.
Unsurprisingly, the most common symptoms of AS is feeling pain and stiffness. These are the true hallmarks of any form of arthritis. In this case, they will occur in a person’s lower back and their buttocks area. Typically, ankylosing spondylitis back pain is diffused over an area and can’t be exactly pinpointed., It’s also likely to start out on one side of the body, rather than both. As AS becomes chronic, it will be felt on both sides of the body and last for long periods of time. It can also spread through the back up to the neck.
There are also some other symptoms. Some people may find they feel general discomfort in their body. Eye inflammation is common and can occur in around 30% of cases. Some light fevers can be common. Some people lose their appetite and want to eat less. There are also some forms of pain which may be felt in other areas of the body. Some people feel it in the hips, thighs, ribs, shoulder bladers or heel areas of the body as well. Other people may feel other symptoms depending on how much the condition has progressed.
Once diagnosis has been completed, a doctor will work with their patient to determine their plan for treatment. Goals of treatment are to reduce the inflammation and try to keep the progression of ankylosing spondylitis to a minimum.
Medications are pretty common. There are a wide range of medications that can be chosen. Doctors will work to find one that works for each individual. In some very severe cases, surgery may be required for joints that have been severely damaged. Artificial joints can be installed and is most common in the hip area, or potentially the knee. Spinal surgery is avoided unless a truly severe deformity has been caused.
Therapy can also assist. Occupational therapy will assist people with their day to day life. Your therapist can help you redesign your daily life at home or at work. This therapy provides more strategies so that you’re not causing yourself pain. Physiotherapists help to maintain as much flexibility and range of motion as is possible. Building strength and stamina can ensure that pain is reduced.
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