Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine. The disease is characterized by inflammation in the joints along the spine, causing stiffness, pain, and often the fusing together of several bones in the spine. The knee and shoulder joints may also be affected.

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Beyond the typical ankylosing spondylitis symptoms of low back and hip pain, there are unusual or severe symptoms patients may develop, including heart lesions and eye inflammation.

Ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis is a three-part process: medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests, such as blood tests for the HLA-B27 gene and several imaging scans.

Medications for ankylosing spondylitis include OTCs used to reduce pain, reduce inflammation (such as naproxen), biologics, DMARDs, prescription therapies (such as remicade), or an injection from a physician.

Surgery for ankylosing spondylitis is an option for patients experiencing severe pain and spinal deformity. Spinal operations for Ankylosing Spondylitis are include a joint replacement or an osteotomy.

Ankylosing spondylitis has a few unique symptoms. The condition begins with gradual lower back pain and can extend to other areas, such as hip pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain.

Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis centers around managing the back pain symptoms through activity modification, low impact exercise, and physical therapy.