One of the rare cases of arthritis is the ankylosing spondylitis, which is more common in males than in females. Ankylosing spondylitis, abbreviated as AS, actually has been known in different terms such as: Marie-Strumpell Disease, Bechterew’s Disease, Bechterew syndrome, Marie-Struempell disease, and spondyloarthritis. It is a chronic, progressive, and inflammatory type of arthritis that affect the spine and sacroiliac joints. It ultimately leads to the complete rigidity of the spine, which is called as the “bamboo spine”.
Ankylosing spondylitis is one of the autoimmune arthritis that may be hereditary. Some of the early signs of ankylosing spondylitis may occur even at an early age, where the patient experiences recurring painful joints. It also shows pain and stiffness at the lower part of the spine. It is also associated with iritis that causes eye pain, and photophobia that increases one’s sensitivity to light. Some patients may also experience mouth ulcers, fatigue, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and Reiter’s disease.
Like some types of arthritis, there’s no direct test to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis, proper laboratory tests and medical examinations must be conducted first before one can be diagnosed with this disorder. There are certain degrees or levels in which ankylosing spondylitis are ranged, since this is a progressive type of arthritis, and there are some which can be medically controlled. However, ankylosing spondylitis, has no known cure, there are only available treatments and medications that can control the symptoms, and reduce the pain. Physical therapy, exercise, and medicine, help the patients diminish the pain, stiffness, and inflammation, caused by ankylosing spondlylitis. For those with severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis, patients can opt to undergo a sugery for joint replacement, but there are procedures which may be risky, especially if the affected areas are the spine and neck.
Ankylosing spondylitis may have no cure and may attack the joints at an early age, but patients can still manage to continue with their daily activities through proper therapy, regular slow-moving exercises, and medicines. If one is affected by such disease, it is important that one takes measures in order to suppress its progress, although it will still continuously be present even until adulthood. Though, there may not be a cure for ankylosing spondylitis, it is still significant on a patient’s part to ask a physician of how to improve his condition, to keep the painful attacks from coming, and to avoid the early onset of having a “bamboo spine”.