Ankylosing Spondylitis, A.S., is a common inflammatory disorder that causes back pain and stiffness. The symptoms are very different than those of osteoarthritis, O.A., of the spine.
Dr. Isam Khan of Cleveland Metro and renowned expert in Ankylosing Spondylitis developed this list of symptoms that are characteristic of AS. that differentiate the back pain of O.A
- lnsidious onset
- Pain at night with improvement upon getting up.
- Age at onset <40 years
- lmprovement with exercise
- No improvement with rest
Sometimes A.S. is very difficult to diagnose.
X-rays do not show the inflammatory arthritic changes. The inflammatory change is best visualized by MRI.
A unique feature of ankylosing spondylitis is a genetic blood test referred to as HLA- B27. About 90 of patients with ankylosing spondylitis are positive for this blood
The treatment, as with other types of arthritis, is individualized. Many patients will have partial relief with the use of anti-inflammatories and exercise. The Good News is that for those who do not respond, biologic therapies have been shown to restore patients quality of life and often prevent future damage. Medications: Cimzia, Cosentyx, Enbrel, Humira, Remicade