Arthritis of the spine is called Spondylitis. Pain and stiffness that starts from the neck and continues up to the lower back is called spondylitis. It may also result in deformity of the spine leading to a stooped posture. Spondylitis is a condition that is debilitating and prevents one from performing the normal day to day activities.
Spondylitis affects a number of people irrespective of age or gender. Besides the pain, stiffness, bony growths on the spine, pain in ligament and tendons, a person may suffer from other conditions like fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, redness of eyes.
Complications that arise out of spondylitis include uvetis, compression fractures and heart problems. Uvetis is a condition where there is eye pain due to spondylitis, along with decreased vision, blurring, redness and light sensitivity. Compression fractures happen in the vertebrae and they crumble causing difficulty breathing. Heart problems are caused due to spondylitis affecting the aorta or the largest artery in the body and this can affect the aortic valve in the heart.
The cause of spondylitis has not yet been discovered. Yet there is a strong genetic link with the gene HLA – B27. People who have defect in this gene suffer from spondylitis. However, people without any malfunction in the gene also suffer from this condition.
Persons who are suffering from spondylitis can visit an orthopaedic for relief from this condition. Doctors will perform various tests to diagnose the condition. Some of the tests conducted are lab tests, measurement of chest, x-ray of chest and physical examination.
Treatment for spondylitis does not exist, it can only be managed. Patients are prescribed medicines to relieve the pain in the joints and the spine. They are also provided treatment to avoid deformity of the spine, stiffness, and maintain the ability to do day to day activities.
Physical and occupational therapy is provided to patients in the early stages of spondylitis. Exercise is also recommended for patients to remove the stiffness and strengthen the muscles. Swimming is the best form of exercise for spondylitis patients.
In advanced stages surgery is the only option. People who have spondylitis can be treated with knee or hip replacement surgery. These surgeries provide permanent relief to spondylitis patients.
Spondylitis is a disabling condition that needs advanced treatment and medications. Proper diagnosis is necessary to identify the condition and provide relief to the patient as he suffers from pain day in and day out.