What is Ankylosing Spondylitis, main symptoms and how is the diagnosis

Ankylosing spondylitis, also known as spondyloarthritis and, in the most advanced stages, ankylosing spondyloarthrosis, is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by a spinal injury in which the vertebrae merge with each other, resulting in symptoms such as difficulty in moving the spine. and pain that improves when moving but worsens at rest.

Usually, this lesion starts in the sacroiliac joint, between the pelvis and the last lumbar vertebrae, or in the shoulder joint and tends to get worse, progressively affecting all the other spine vertebrae, which can lead to the person's removal from work, starting early retirement.

Therefore, as soon as the symptoms appear, it is important for the person to consult an orthopedist so that tests are done to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis and treatment is started, preventing complications and improving the person's quality of life.

Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms

The main symptom of ankylosing spondylitis is lower back pain that improves during physical activity, but that worsens when the person is at rest. Other signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are:

  • Back pain in the affected region;
  • Difficulty in spinal movements, such as turning your face sideways;
  • Limitation of lumbar movements in the 3 axes;
  • Reduction of chest expansion;
  • There may be a sensation of numbness and / or tingling in the arms or legs;
  • Morning stiffness;
  • Pain improves with movement and worsens with rest;
  • There may be lumbar rectification, increased kyphosis and / or projection of the head forward;
  • Low fever, around 37ÂșC;
  • Tiredness and apathy.

Symptoms usually install gradually and over the years they become more common and frequent. In addition, if there is no diagnosis or adequate treatment, some complications may arise, the most frequent being plantar fasciitis and uveitis, which corresponds to inflammation of the uvea, which is the region of the eye that comprises the iris, choroid.

Main causes

The causes that lead to ankylosing spondylitis are not known, however it has been identified that this disease is related to the presence of a specific antigen in the body called HLA-B27, which can cause abnormal responses of the immune system, causing disease.

How the diagnosis is made

The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is made by performing some imaging tests, such as X-rays, bone scintigraphy and computed tomography of the sacroiliac joint and spine, the results of which must be interpreted by the doctor. In addition, a serological test for HLA-B27 may be recommended by the doctor, as this antigen is related to the disease.

In addition, the presence of signs and symptoms for a period equal to or greater than 3 months must be evaluated by the physician in order to confirm the diagnosis, in addition to observing whether there is grade 2 or 4 impairment in the two sacroiliac joints, or grade 3 or 4 in a single sacroiliac joint.

Treatment for ankylosing spondylitis

Treatment aims to relieve symptoms, prevent disease progression and complications, and ensure the person's quality of life. Therefore, it may be recommended by the orthopedist to use some analgesic, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant medications, such as:

  • Indomethacin: 50 to 100 md / day;
  • Diclofenac sodium: 100 to 200 mg / day;
  • Naproxen: 500 to 1500 mg / day;
  • Piroxicam: 20 to 40 mg / day and
  • Aceclofenac: 100 to 200 mg / day.

The combination of drugs and dosage should be given by the doctor after assessing the intensity of the symptoms manifested. Regardless of the intensity of the symptoms, physical therapy is also essential to promote the development of joint mobility and increase flexibility, thus helping to relieve the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.

Depending on the patient's age and daily activities, surgery for the placement of a prosthesis may be recommended in order to improve range of motion. The regular practice of exercises in addition to improving symptoms, gives more energy and disposition. Natural methods such as massage, acupuncture, auriculotherapy, and others can be used in order to reduce pain. In addition, eating with little or no starch has also been shown to be effective in bringing relief from pain and slowing the progression of the disease.

It is important that the patient knows that the treatment should be carried out for a lifetime because ankylosing spondylitis and still have no cure. Learn more about the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis.