Disease A to Z: Ankylosing Spondylitis

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We promised to cover back diseases from A to Z, so let’s start with one that’s rare, complicated and hard to pronounce.  Ankylosing Spondylitis is present in only 1% of those examined; the arthritic disease can occur at any age and is usually more common in men.  As is a systemic disease that is associated with autoimmune issues. People don’t typically associate back pain or disease with autoimmune issues, but as we cover more information this month, research continues to find more links.

Active adults in their mid-30’s may begin to experience pain and stiffness in your lower back and buttocks and hips.  It’s easy to blame on a bike ride or yard work, but persistent pain can occur even when one is sedentary.  Switching to a new regime of running, eating organically or even a case of Ibuprofen won’t help.  Trying to “work the pain out,” can result in further injury or new symptoms like heel pain or fatigue throughout the day.

If you’re worried, go to the Back Pain Clinic Belleville to get a proper evaluation from Dr. Fast.  He conducts a thorough interview and physical examination.  He may want to also get x-rays of your back to determine if he can see what’s going on.  

Here’s how  Ankylosing Spondylitis works: Vertebrae in the spine grow or “fuse” together, resulting in a rigid spine that may give the patient a stooped over posture.  The overgrowth or bony fusion, can cause pain and discomfort from the lower back to the neck as the spine grows into the ribs and chest.

Treatment can include chiropractic care paired with physical or occupational therapy.  Exercise is considered a main remedy to fight against bone fusion; however, anti-inflammatory and disease fighting anti-rheumatic drugs or steroid injections help ease pain and progression.  In the worst case scenario, back surgery may be required.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see Dr. Fast in Belleville.  With 15 years experience, you’ll have peace of mind in his diagnostic approach and care.