Eastbourne Chiropractor discusses Ankylosing Spondylitis
Due to easy access to the web these days, I am finding many people that come and see us at our Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne, are self diagnosing. The web is helpful for finding out lots of information, but it is also dangerous as we start to think we have all sorts of things going wrong with us.
I am a chiropractor at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne, and I thought we could have a little chat about Ankylosing spondylitis today. Please be aware that we cannot treat or diagnose Ankylosing Spondylitis, this blog is just to give you more of an idea on the subject.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing Spondylitis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. It is a form of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation in the spine and sacroiliac joints. ‘Ankylosis’ means stiffness/fusion of joints, ‘Spondylitis’ means inflammation of joints in the spine. So this chronic inflammation over time can cause fusion of joints.
It can also affect other large joints in your body such as the shoulders and hips.A classic feature of this disease is the involvement of the sacro-iliac joints. These are the large joints in the pelvis where the spine meets the pelvis.
Causes/Risk Factors of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis has no specific cause that has been discovered, but the following are risk factors associated with it.
A family history of this disease is a risk factor along with the presence of the HLA-27B gene. A very high percentage of people who are diagnosed with this gene have Ankylosing Spondylitis, although many people with this gene do not have ankylosing spondylitis.
Unlike other arthritic conditions, onset usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood.
Ankylosing spondylitis is more common in men than women, some citing 2 times more likely whereas other studies suggest it is 3 times more likely to occur in men.
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
The main symptom of Ankylosing Spondylitis is back pain and stiffness. This generally starts in late adolescents or early 20’s.The pain is usually in the lower back and around the buttocks.It comes on gradually over weeks or months and is a dull ache. This can be one sided and sometimes even change sides. The pain is generally felt over a large area rather than in one specific spot. The pain often comes with stiffness and is usually worse first thing in the morning. It can also come and go, often you will have a flare up and then you will have patches when things are ok.
People with Ankylosing spondylitis will also often have inflammatory bowel issues such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis. It can also be accompanied with eye inflammation.
Due to a lot of the symptoms being similar to other causes of back pain, it is best not to jump to conclusions too early.
How is Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosed?
A rheumatologist will be able to diagnose Ankylosing Spondylitis. They will look at family history. They will do blood tests to see if the HLA-27B gene is present. They will look at x-rays and for specific other signs such as: age of onset; how the pain changes with exercise; how the pain changes during the night and whether the pain is acute or chronic. Rheumatologists are specialists, so let them do their work rather than rushing to conclusions by self diagnosing from the web.
There are many other causes of back pain so give us a call at our Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne if you do have back pain and see if we can help. If we believe you might have ankylosing spondylitis we will refer you on for diagnosis.
Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
There are many different aspects to treating ankylosing spondylitis. Treatment can involve medication, exercise, hot and cold compresses etc. Speak to your rheumatologist who will discuss the best treatment options with you.
By James Revell
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