Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis which affects the spine. It is characterized by stiffness and pain from the lower back to the neck. The vertebrae(spinal bone) fuse together resulting in a rigid bone. Early treatment and diagnoses helps to control stiffness and pain. It can also prevent or reduce significant deformity. Ankylosing spondylitis can have signs such as pain, stiffness, bony fusion and pain in the tendons & ligaments. Yet as such the symptoms of the condition is not limited to the joints.
The cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis have not been determined yet. Despite such, some researchers say that there is a strong hereditary link. The HLA-B27 gene is said to be particularly responsible for this condition. But then again statistics found that 10 % people who have this condition also show no symptoms of the condition.
Diagnosing the condition
It is difficult to diagnose the condition with general diagnostic testing such as physical and symptomatic testing. Other diagnostic procedures such as X-rays of the pelvis and the back, measuring the chest while the patient breathes, lab tests infer comparably more confirmative results. A general physician should be initially approached if one experiences or entertains suspicions of the condition’s symptoms. He/she would direct you to a concerned specialist when required.
Unfortunately there is yet no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, yet clinical research is in progress. Despite such symptomatic treatments have been observed to reduce discomfort and improve functional abilities. Such treatments aim to abate pain, rigidity, persisting stiffness, regain posture and stance and many cases prevent deformity. Many patients, after such treatments have reportedly been able to resume normal activities with relative ease. Generally a team of physicians comprising of doctors, physical and occupational therapist tend to the patients.
Physical and occupational therapy is found to be very helpful and important to maintain functional abilities of the body and minimize severe deformities. Therapists also suggest customized exercised regimes. Breathing techniques and swimming are the most advised form of exercises.