The starting symptom of ankylosing spondylitis is pain and stiffness in the lower back which may get worse in the night or early morning. Back pain may be felt in the sacroiliac joint between the spine and pelvis. Progression of the disease can affect all or part of the spine resulting in decreased mobility of the lower spine and fatigue.
Other symptoms which are rarely seen are fever, loss of appetite, eye inflammation, and pain in heel, hip and other joints of the shoulder, knee, and ankles.
The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis condition involves physical examination to evaluate the patient’s symptoms, X-rays and blood tests. Physical examination helps the physician assess stiffness and range of motion of the spine and other related joints. X-rays are ordered for a clear diagnosis of sacroiliac joints, vertebrae, and other related bones. Certain blood tests are employed such as HLA-B27 antigen, and sedimentation rate which is a marker of inflammation throughout the body.
The treatment of ankylosing spondylitis involves the use of certain medications to help reduce inflammation, suppress immunity, and prevent progression of the disease. Different classes of medication available for treatment are NSAIDs, corticosteroids, or other new classes having anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect including biologics such as anti-TNF agents.
Other treatment options are physical therapy and exercise. These are very effective measures and helps alleviate many symptoms. One should eat a healthy whole food diet and should avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.