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Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a rare type of arthritis that causes pain and stiffness in your spine. This lifelong condition, also known as Bechterew disease, usually starts in your lower back. It can spread up to your neck or damage joints in other parts of your body.
"Ankylosis" means fused bones or other hard tissue. "Spondylitis" means inflammation in your spinal bones, or vertebrae. Severe cases can leave your spine hunched.