Ankylosing Spondylitis & Me
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)?
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. It causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae).
What are the symptoms of AS ?
The first sign of ankylosing spondylitis is inflammation in the areas where the lower spine joins the pelvis. The most common symptoms of AS are:
- - Inflammation, pain, and stiffness in areas of the body such as the shoulders, hips, ribs, heels, and small joints of the hands and feet
- - Chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back, buttocks and hips (usually develops slowly over several weeks or months)
- - Pain and stiffness that worsens during periods of rest or inactivity and improves with movement and exercise
- - Back pain during the night or early morning
- - Feeling very stiff in the morning
Over time, pain and stiffness may progress to the upper spine and even into the rib cage and neck. Ultimately, the inflammation can cause the sacroiliac and vertebral bones to fuse or grow together. Inflammation and pain also can occur in the hips, shoulders, knees, ankles, toes and fingers.
How to reduce the impact of AS on my day-to-day life?
Like any long-term condition, ankylosing spondylitis can have a significant impact on your everyday life. There are simple things you can do to help you manage your condition and improve your wellbeing.