Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
AS is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the sacroiliac joints (where the spine attaches to the pelvis), spine and hip joints.1 It causes inflammation of the spinal joints that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.1 In the most advanced cases, but not in all cases, this inflammation can lead to new bone formation on the spine, causing the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position, sometimes creating a forward-stooped posture.1 This forward curvature of the spine is called kyphosis.1
In addition to the spine and hips, AS can also cause inflammation, pain and stiffness in other areas of the body, such as the shoulders, ribs, heels and small joints of the hands and feet.1 Sometimes the eyes can become involved (known as Iritis or Uveitis), and rarely, the lungs and heart can be affected.1
Currently, there is no known cure for AS, but there are treatments and medications available to reduce symptoms and manage the pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.1
- About Spondylitis. Ankylosing Spondylitis. Spondylitis Association of America Website. http://www.spondylitis.org/about/as.aspx. Accessed August 18, 2014.