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Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes inflammation between your vertebrae, which are the bones that make up your spine, and in the joints between your spine and pelvis. In some people, it can affect other joints.
AS is more common and more severe in men. It often runs in families. The cause is unknown, but it is likely that both genes and factors in the environment play a role.
Early symptoms of AS include back pain and stiffness. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood. Over time, AS can fuse your vertebrae together, limiting movement. Some people have symptoms that come and go. Others have severe, ongoing pain.
A diagnosis of AS is based on your medical history and a physical examination. You may also have imaging or blood tests.
AS has no cure, but medicines can relieve symptoms and may keep the disease from getting worse. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and exercising can also help. In rare cases, you may need surgery to straighten the spine.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
- Ankylosing Spondylitis (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
- Overview of Ankylosing Spondylitis (Spondylitis Association of America)
Treatments and Therapies
- Complementary Treatments for Ankylosing Spondylitis (Spondylitis Association of America)
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) (American College of Rheumatology) Also in Spanish
- Spondyloarthritis and Exercise (Spondylitis Association of America)
- Ankylosing spondylitis: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Spondylitis, Ankylosing (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Two-year imaging outcomes from a phase 3 randomized trial of secukinumab...
- Article: Efficacy and safety of upadacitinib in patients with active psoriatic arthritis...
- Article: Safety profile of upadacitinib over 15 000 patient-years across rheumatoid arthritis,...
- Ankylosing Spondylitis -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Find a Rheumatologist (American College of Rheumatology)
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Also in Spanish
- Ankylosing spondylitis (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- HLA-B27 antigen (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish