Ankylosing Spondylitis, also known as Marie-Strumpell Disease, is a systemic/arthritic disease that affects the ligaments of the back and joints of the spine, which essentially leads to inflammation, chronic pain, stiffness and other spine associated symptoms. This disease may cause the vertebrae in the spinal cord to fuse together, thereby limiting or severely disabling patients’ flexibility of the spine. When the two bones fuse together, it creates an unnatural curve of the back as well.
This condition may also affect other joints of the body, such as the eyes, lungs, upper extremities, hips, lower extremities, and in severe cases, the heart. Ankylosing Spondylitis is known to cause Kyphosis – a mild to severe spinal deformity that may necessitate surgery.
Men are increasingly more susceptible of suffering Ankylosing Spondylitis than women. This disease may be inherited at any age, ranging from 15 – 59 years old.
Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis and it currently remains unknown. Nevertheless, leading scientists and spine specialists agree that there seems to be a genetic factor involved. Studies have shown that individuals with a gene called “HLA-B27” are at risk of suffering Ankylosing Spondylitis, but it is not a guarantee.
The same can be said for genetics that are passed down from family members who have also suffered this disease. Some bacterial infections may also be a factor to cause Ankylosing Spondylitis, but it is all in theory.
Symptoms for Ankylosing Spondylitis incredibly vary from person to person. Some patients may suffer all associated symptoms from this disease, while others may not experience any symptom at all.
Below is a list of symptoms commonly associated with this condition:
- Mild to severe inflammation, pain and stiffness in neck, lower back and buttocks
- Radiating pain to hip, thighs, upper extremities and lower extremities
- Worsening pain in the morning
- Fatigue, Frustration and Depression
- Prolonged sleep / rest aggravates the pain
- Limited range of motion in cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine
- Swelling in eyes and various other areas of the body
- Stiffness in chest, ribs, neck, and shoulders
- Difficulty breathing in severe cases
Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
It must be emphasized that there is no absolute cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis. The symptoms accompanying this disease, however, can be controlled and alleviated to an incredible degree via treatments, but the disease will still linger.
Similar to other spinal conditions and disorders, spinal specialists will recommend medications, physical therapy, braces and surgery as treatment modalities to control the pain and provide relief for the patients. Medications will be dispensed initially to assist in relieving any inflammation, pain and other symptoms that patients may experience. Physical therapy will be recommended to assist patients in regaining range of motion and flexibility. For those not interested in medication, heat and cold patches may also be dispensed to treat inflammation and will be applied in affected areas of the body.
Surgery is rarely performed for patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis, and should only be considered under severe/disabling cases.
Contact HEALTHPOINTE for further information regarding Ankylosing Spondylitis. If you or someone you know are suffering from said symptoms, be sure to visit one of our many locations in Southern California. Remember, we are always here to treat you!