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Ankylosing spondylitis

  • Alternative Names

    Rheumatoid spondylitis; Spondylitis; Spondylarthropathy; Seronegative bundle arthropathy


    Treatment

    Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and pain.

    Corticosteroid therapy or medications to suppress the immune system may also be prescribed. Drugs called TNF-inhibitors (etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab), which block an inflammatory protein, have been shown to improve the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.

    Some health care professionals use drugs that block cell growth (cytotoxic drugs) in people who do not respond well to corticosteroids or who are dependent on high doses of corticosteroids.

    Surgery may be done if pain or joint damage is severe.

    Exercises can help improve posture and breathing. Lying flat on the back at night can help maintain normal posture.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    The course of the disease is unpredictable. Symptoms may come and go at any time. Most people are able to function unless the hips are severely involved.


    Complications

    Rarely, people may have problems with the aortic heart valve (aortic insufficiency) and heart rhythm problems.

    Some patients may have pulmonary fibrosis or restrictive lung disease.


    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
    • You have ankylosing spondylitis and develop new symptoms during treatment