April 11, 2008

Therapy for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of arthritis that is characterized by chronic inflammation of sacroiliac joints (the joint between pelvis and spine) and spine. As it is a systemic rheumatoid disease, it can cause pain and inflammation in other body organs such as heart, eyes, kidneys and lungs. This type of arthritis is more common in men than in women. In women, the joints other than spine are more commonly affected. This disorder may affect all age groups and onset of symptoms is commonly found in the 2nd and 3rd decades of life.

Some genetic factors are believed to be responsible for Ankylosing Spondylitis. About 90% of people having Ankylosing Spondylitis have the HLA-B27gene. Recently, two more genes such as IL23R and ARTS1 are identified which are related to Ankylosing Spondylitis. Besides the genetic factors, some environmental factors are supposed to be cause of this disorder. A person with the age less than 40 and positive for HLA-B27 gene and having the family history of Ankylosing Spondylitis is at the higher risk of developing this disease.


The symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis are associated with inflammation of joints, spine and other body organs. Fatigue is the most commonly seen symptom related to active inflammation. Inflammation of spine results in stiffness and pain in low back, neck, upper buttock area and remainder of spine. Over time, other joints such as knees, shoulders, feet and hips may be affected. In the advanced stage of this disease, the signs and symptoms like stiff and inflexible spine, chronic stooping, restricted expansion of chest, loss of appetite, weight loss, inflammation of eyes and bowl inflammation are found.

After onset of these symptoms, you should immediately contact the doctor for appropriate diagnosis of the disease. The diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis is done on the basis of symptoms, physical examination and medical history. Various blood tests such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) are performed to detect the inflammation. Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is performed to determine the anemia. Determination of HLA-B24 gene is another important test prescribed by the doctor for the diagnosis of this disorder. X-findings, CT (Computerized tomography) and MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan are helpful to detect the inflammation and change in bones and joints.


The purpose of treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis is to relieve stiffness and pain of the joints and prevent further complications and deformities. The medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor blockers are effective for the treatment. Physical therapy is another effective treatment option which helps to relieve pain and improve the flexibility and strength of the joints.