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Understanding Ankylosing Spondylitis -- Symptoms

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on July 20, 2019

What Are the Symptoms?

Not everyone develops all of the following symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis of the spine. What you experience depends on the severity of the condition:

  • Stiffness and pain in the lower back, buttocks, and hips upon waking in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Back pain relieved by movement and exercise
  • Difficulty bending the spine
  • Pain in the hips and difficulty walking
  • Pain in the heels and soles of the feet
  • Pain in the jaw, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Bent-over posture
  • Straightening of the normal curvature of the spine
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Fatigue, decreased energy
  • Eye swelling, redness, and pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty taking a deep breath (because expanding the chest is difficult and painful)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart block (problems with the flow of the electrical impulses that control your heart muscle)
  • Bowel inflammation like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis

Call Your Doctor About Ankylosing Spondylitis If:

You develop symptoms such as persistent lower-back pain, especially if it is stiff in the morning but improves with movement and exercise

You have redness or swelling in the eye, or are abnormally sensitive to light; you could have iritis, a condition commonly associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

American College of Rheumatology. 

The Mayo Clinic. 

Spondylitis Association of America. 

Sportsinjuryclinic.net.

Reveille, J.Am J Med Sci., 2011 Apr; 341(4): 284–286.

Brown, M. Arthritis & Rheumatism, Dec. 2005.

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