Inflammatory back pain, chronic back pain and the back pain not easing even after taking rest – is not the usual type of back pain due to muscle issues or slipped discs. In other words, it is not the regular one – but it is a long-term pain. If your doctor notices the symptoms of inflammation and chronic back pain, he or she may look for certain peculiar signs and symptoms associated with chronic back pain. They include – regular persistent back pain, which usually or more likely to occur in young teens and in 20s or when someone is in their 40s. The pain may continue long or last for around three to four months. The pain may get better when the person experiencing it move around or do exercise and becomes worst when taking rest.

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that causes lower back pain and stiffness.

Am I at Risk of getting Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)?

You may be at risk if you are a male as men are three to four times more likely to get AS than women. The other risk factor is your family history as the cause is inheritable. Individuals having HLA-B27 gene have AS more commonly than others. The condition may manifest in young teens or in mid 40s.

Symptoms of AS?

The first indication of AS is lower back pain, but this pain is not usual though; therefore, you should understand your pain and symptoms well. See whether the pain is regular, continuous, persistent and is for around three to four months. The next symptoms to look for is to see whether the pain is getting worst when you are taking rest and getting better when you are exercising and moving around. The pain affects spinal joints and associated with stiffness and inflammation. In other words, the pain is chronic. The other symptoms may include tiredness, pain in other joints such as hip, ribs, hands, shoulders or foot. If AS persisting for years, it may cause growth of bone on the spine making the vertebrae to fuse and causing severe stiffness in the spine. Which may lead to brittle bone or osteoporosis in majority of the people with AS.

 What is Peripheral AS and Axial AS?

AS is of different types, such as peripheral AS and Axial AS. In peripheral AS, the pain, stiffness and swelling are seen in joints other than spine – whereas in axial AS the pain is confined to the joints of the spine – especially the lower spine. In other words, axial AS is associated with lower backpain with stiffness of the spine.

How Is AS Diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine you physically and look for the visible symptoms like joint stiffness, swelling and inflammation in the joints, and then may recommend certain tests. Furthermore, if the doctor finds stiffness and limited back movement, he or she may ask you about your family history to know whether any of your parents or relatives had the same condition. The doctor after suspecting the case to be of arthritis, may ask you to see a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist may order blood tests, CT scan or MRI to detect and diagnose the condition and plan appropriate treatment accordingly.