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Last Updated: Sep 23, 2019
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Spondylitis - Symptoms, Treatment And Causes

What is Spondylitis? What are the types of spondylitis? What are the symptoms of spondylitis? What causes spondylitis? What is the best treatment for spondylitis? Can spondylitis be cured? How can spondylitis be prevented? What are the Best Exercises for Spondylitis? What is the best diet for spondylitis? What are the Risks and complications for spondylitis?

What is Spondylitis?

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.

What are the types of spondylitis?

Types of spondylitis include:

  1. Ankylosing Spondylitis:

    In this, there is inflammation in the spine and pelvis which also causes inflammatory back pain. This usually starts at the age of 45 and it most of the time improves by continuous activity but not by resting.

    As time passes inflammation may lead to ankylosis which is the formation of new bone in the spine. Thus making the spine fixed in an immobile position.

  2. Enteropathic Arthritis:

    This is associated with inflammatory bowel disease. In this, there is inflammation of the intestine and it includes bowel which is again a dominant feature of enteropathic arthritis.

    Its symptoms include abdominal pain, weight loss, chronic diarrhoea, blood in the stool.

  3. Psoriatic Arthritis:

    In this, there is constant swelling and pain in the joints of the hands and feet. In some people, there is also a skin rash due to psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes there is also stiffness in the spine.

  4. Reactive Arthritis:

    In reactive arthritis infection takes place in the intestine or the urinary tract. This can also cause inflammation and pain in the joints, eyes, genitals, bladder, mucous membrane.

  5. Juvenile Spondyloarthritis:

    These symptoms begin in childhood and looks like normal spondylitis. In this, there is inflammation at the meeting points of tendons or ligaments.

What are the symptoms of spondylitis?

Most of the time spondylitis is due to age-related problems and they do not experience any exact symptoms.

The most common symptoms of spondylitis are mild pain and stiffness which may get worse after a certain period of time and by sitting for longer hours.

There can be some of the severe symptoms too which include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Pain in the muscles or spasm
  • A popping or grinding feeling while moving the spine
  • Weakness in the hand or legs
  • Loss of control on the bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty in walking or loss of balance

What causes spondylitis?

Spondylitis is an aging phenomenon in which there is inflammation in the vertebrae. The most common cause of spondylitis is backache and neck pain.

What is the best treatment for spondylitis?

The best treatments for spondylitis are as follows:

Ankylosing Spondylitis:

1. Medication: The medicines which are given at the time of ankylosing spondylitis includes:

  1. Adalimumab (Humira)
  2. Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
  3. Etanercept (Enbrel)
  4. Golimumab (Simponi; Simponi Aria)
  5. Infliximab (Remicade)

2. Physical treatment and therapies are also provided to the people suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. It is done to improve the flexibility and strength of the body.

Enteropathic Arthritis:

In this various drug therapies are given which include:

  • Sulfasalazine and Aminosalicylates: These medicines are useful for treating ulcerative colitis but they are not helpful for crohn's disease.
  • TNF-alpha Inhibitors: This plays a big role in treating enteropathic arthritis and its injections are given under the skin or sometimes drip in the veins.
  • DMARDs: It helps in removing inflammation from the joints by interfering with the inflammatory response of the immune system.
  • Corticosteroids: It is given for only short-term and moderate to severe treatment.
  • NSAIDs: It is used for the reduction of pain and inflammation of the joints. But the medicines must be taken only if there is no side effects after taking this medication.

Psoriatic Arthritis:

The medications which are given during psoriatic arthritis are:

  • NSAIDs: these are used as a pain reliever and also reduce inflammation of the joints. The medicines are ibuprofen, naproxen sodium. But before taking these medications one must consult the doctor as there can be severe side effects.
  • DMARDs: this slows down the progression of psoriatic arthritis. Thus saving the tissues from further damage.
  • Immunosuppressants: this is given to keep the immune system in control as it is the most affected part in psoriatic arthritis.

Reactive Arthritis: The medications which are given during reactive arthritis are:

  • NSAIDs: These are used as a pain reliever and also reduce inflammation of the joints. The medicines are ibuprofen, naproxen sodium. But before taking these medications one must consult the doctor as there can be severe side effects.
  • Corticosteroids: It is given for only short-term and moderate to severe treatment.
  • Topical Steroid: It is used to treat skin rashes which is caused due to reactive arthritis.

These are some of the measures that people adopt to get rid of spondylitis: Acupuncture,occupational therapy, massage, ultrasound treatment, electrical stimulation, chiropractic treatment.


The doctor may suggest the following medication:

Pain relief medication, drugs for easing nerve pain, topical creams, injections with the combination of steroid and anesthetic medication, a steroid medication, a muscle relaxant to reduce spasm.


Surgery might also be recommended to some patients if the medications are also not working and no there is no relief after the treatment. There may be image testing done by the doctor with the help of X-rays.

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.

Can spondylitis be cured?

There is no cure for spondylitis it can just get delayed or exercise may help people relax for a small period of time.

How can spondylitis be prevented?

These are the ways in which spondylitis can be prevented:

  • Avoid alcohol:

    Alcohol is not good for the bones as it weakens them. Therefore if you are suffering from spondylitis then you should avoid alcohol or should not consume it in large amounts.

  • Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D:

    Calcium and vitamin D both are very important and useful for bone health. Calcium helps in building up the bones whereas Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium in the bones. Thus these two together are important and keeps spondylitis away.

  • Become active:

    You must keep doing stretching and should not keep your body stiff for a long time.

  • Keeping good posture:

    the alignment of your spine should be proper as it alleviates pain and prevents damage. Body’s flexibility should be maintained by doing neck, upper back and shoulder stretch.

  • Getting plenty of sleep:

    If you are suffering from spondylitis then you should get sleep in adequate amount. Sleeping in the right posture, on the proper mattress is very important.

  • Communicating with your doctor:

    talk with your doctor if you are going through the symptoms related to spondylitis. Doing lifestyle changes also help during spondylitis.

What are the Best Exercises for Spondylitis?

These are the exercises which are best for spondylitis:

  • Stretching up your spine
  • Plank for a strong core
  • Do neck stretches
  • Stretching hips to get relief from lower back pain
  • Taking deep breaths

What is the best diet for spondylitis?

These are the food that is good for spondylitis:

  • Plenty of green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
  • Minimize processed food, and also avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
  • Drink an adequate amount of water for the whole day.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet including vitamins, minerals, is required for people suffering from spondylitis.

What are the Risks and complications for spondylitis?

These are the complications which are related to spondylitis:

  • Inflammation of the eyes:

    A person who is suffering from spondylitis mostly suffer from inflammation of iritis (eyes).

  • Fatigue:

    One of the major complications during spondylitis as there are physical discomfort and uncontrolled pain in the joints.

  • Neurological complications:

    Problems start occurring in the nerves which are present at the base of the spine. It creates an impact on the life of the person which include sexual dysfunction, problems in bowel syndrome, weakness of the legs, etc.

  • Complications in the heart:

    If you are suffering from spondylitis then there can be chronic inflammation in the base of your heart specifically found around the aortic valve and at the origin of the aorta.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, My disease is as with 45-degree kyphoscoliosis and also bamboo spine. It gives severe pain to me. Sazo 500 and etoricoxib 60 use twice daily but in vain pain doesn't relief. What can I do, can I take robotic surgery? Please give me suggestions.

Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
The pain has to be reduced initially. If your in an young age you can have a conservative management like physiotherapy exercises. The surgery depends on the severity.

Hello sir muje back pain bhut rehta hai mri b krwaya l5s1 mild disc buldge inflammation in vertebra. One year se cervical pain b hai doctor ka kehna hai ki lumbar or cervical spondalytis hai. Medicine le rhi hi six months se but jyda aaram ni. Kya medicine is bimari me dhire kam krega. Time lgta hai kya thk hone me, agar lgta hai to kitne samay tk lu or medicine? Single kidney hai jyda medicine ni le skte. Pls suggest.

MBBS, MD - Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Orthopedist, Mumbai
Does the mri mention any spondylosis changes apart from the disc bulge. You are too young to develop spondylosis which is due to wear and tear. You require a proper back school. Programme for treatment and prevention of a disc prolapse it is bette...
1 person found this helpful

I am 39 year old male with ankylosing spondylitis and I have pain in my sacroiliac joint. I take saaz ds and inmecin 25 everyday. Normally I am ok but during winter I get pain and make it difficult to walk. Can you suggest some thing better?

Physiotherapist, Noida
Chiropractic adjustment will help. Do the cat/cow stretch. Get on all fours, with your arms straight and your hands directly under your shoulders; your knees hip-width apart.
2 people found this helpful

I am 33 years old male I am suffered from last 8 years ankolosing spondylitis. Kabhi right hip ki side pain hota hai kabhi left or kabhi kabhi to spine me hote hue neck me bhi hota hai. Abhi me jab pain hota hai to LOROX OD or saaz Ds leta hu. Kabhi pain apne aap khatam ho jata hai. 2- 3mahine tak bhi nahi rehta. Lekin kabhi kabhi fir shuru ho jata hai. Please mujhe suggest kare. Me dard se bahut pareshan ho chuka hun.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MS - Orthopedics, Fellowship, Depuy Joint Replacement
Orthopedic Doctor, Bhubaneswar
Dear moon Ankylosing spondylitis is an arthritis which involves our spine and pelvis bone in young adults ,you are a signboard case of AS, and on DMRD and pain management .mostly acute the pain subsides with indomethacin and steroids .you should c...
2 people found this helpful

I am a patient of ankylosing spondylitis. Hlab 27 positive. Age 33 years male. My crp 50, esr 60, hemoglobin 11.2 I am taking (veloz 20 mg, nucoxia 90 mg, saaz D's )1tablet per day. Still my crp is increasing. What should I do? please suggest me I am very nervus.

MBBS, DNB, National Board Of Examination
Orthopedic Doctor, Faridabad
U need to contuine your medication. Do chest expansion, limb range of motion, and back strengthening exercises. Take antioxidant foods ie foods rich in vitamin C, E, A. Avoid stress. Proper sleep. Avoid even passing smoking. Have Proper posture. D...
7 people found this helpful

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