Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic ailment brought about by inflammation in the vertebrae. The usual indications include intermittent flare-ups of spinal pain and rigidity.
The condition can also affect the other joints including the intestines and the eyes. In its advanced stage, abnormal bone growth that occurs in the vertebrae can lead to joint fusion which can significantly reduce mobility. Individuals with the condition can also suffer from visual issues or inflammation in the other joints such as the ankles and knees.
What are the warning signs of ankylosing spondylitis?
Unexplained pain in the lower back
The pain and stiffness caused by ankylosing spondylitis are usually worse upon waking. Take note that the stiffness might feel better after exercise.
If lower back pain arises for no evident reason among teenagers and young adults, it should be assessed by a doctor. The pain is often positioned in the sacroiliac joints where the pelvis and spine meet.
Family history of ankylosing spondylitis
Individuals with certain genetic markers are prone to ankylosing spondylitis but not all with the genes develop the disease.
Young individuals with unexplained pain in the joints, heels or chest
Aside from back pain, some individuals with ankylosing spondylitis initially experience heel pain or discomfort and stiffness in the joints of the ankles, wrists or other joints.
In some cases, the rib bones are affected, usually at the site where they meet the spine. This can cause chest tightness that makes it difficult to breathe.
Pain that “comes and goes” that gradually moves up the spine
As a chronic, progressive ailment, it gradually worsens. The symptoms might come and go, but will not completely stop. Oftentimes, the pain and inflammation can spread from the low back to the spine.
Symptom-relief using NSAIDs
Initially, an individual with ankylosing spondylitis can get symptomatic relief from commonly used over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or ibuprofen.