Spondyloarthritis strikingly resembles arthritis since it affects the tendons and ligaments attached to the bones. The condition manifests in 2 forms such as the following:
- Inflammation that results to pain and rigidity more often the spine but sometimes it can also involve the extremities.
- Destruction of bone that results to spinal deformity and impairment in the functioning of the hips and shoulders.
What are the causes?
In one type of spondyloarthritis, specifically ankylosing spondylitis, it is considered as a hereditary condition. There are several genes responsible for this condition specifically the HLA-B27 gene. Based on studies conducted, it suggests that it might be due to some form of bacteria that infiltrates the bowel.
Some of the characteristic indications of spondyloarthritis include the following:
- Intense low back pain
- Buttock pain in one or both sides
- Constant fatigue
- Significant heel pain
- Peripheral arthritis
- Inflammation at the area where the ligament or tendon attaches to bone
- Swollen toes or fingers
- Arthritis of the small joints
The conservative approach is the main treatment for spondyloarthritis. The ideal way the condition is managed is through physical therapy and performing exercises focused on the affected joint. The exercises that are highly effective are those that involve spinal extension as well as those that improve mobility of the spine.
Medications are also used as part of treatment especially NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. These are quite effective in helping calm down the pain and inflammation if the right dosage is given.
In case there is localized swelling in a specific joint, steroid injections are usually recommended by the doctor.
As for cases that are unresponsive to these treatment options, another class of medications called as disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are used. The only downside with this approach is its cost and potential side effects.
In some cases, surgery is quite effective via hip replacement for those who suffer from significant hip pain. As for traumatic fractures to the spine, spinal surgery is a possible option.