Ankylosing Spondylitis - Topic Overview
signs of this disease—dull pain in the low back and buttocks—are common. Your
doctor will ask about your symptoms and if they have become worse over time.
Your doctor will also ask if you have a family history of this joint disease or
others like it.
Your doctor may do several tests if he or she
thinks that you have ankylosing spondylitis. You may have an X-ray, a test for
the HLA-B27 gene, or an
MRI of the
The clearest sign of
the disease is a change in the sacroiliac joints at the base of the low back.
This change can take up to a few years to show up on an X-ray.
Treatment includes exercise and
physical therapy. These will help reduce stiffness so that you can stand up
straighter and move around better. Your doctor will also give you medicine for
pain and swelling.
Because people with ankylosing spondylitis may be at a higher risk for spinal cord injury, it's important that you wear a seat
belt every time you drive or ride in a car.
You will need to get
regular eye exams to check for inflammation in your eye, called iritis. You may
use a device such as a cane to help you walk and to help reduce stress on your
Surgery for the spine is rarely needed. You may want to
think about hip or knee replacements if you have severe arthritis in those
There is no cure for this disease. But early diagnosis and
treatment can help relieve pain and stiffness and allow you to keep doing your
daily activities for as long as possible.