The following information will help answer some of your questions about ankylosing spondylitis. It'll also provide information about the different ways to treat ankylosing spondylitis.
What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory arthritis that causes some vertebrae in the spine to fuse together. This makes the spine less flexible and can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.
What causes AS?
Scientists still don't know exactly what causes AS, but research has shown certain factors that may be involved:
- Genetic factors — Certain genes passed from parent to child are known to play a role in the development of AS, although they are not the only factor.
- Environmental factors — Some scientists believe there is something environmental (such as an infection) that may trigger a person whose genetic makeup makes them more likely to develop the condition.
- Other factors — Males are more likely to develop AS than females.
How is AS Treated?
The treatment goal for AS is to relieve pain, reduce swelling in the joints, slow down or stop joint damage, and help people feel better and stay active. Medications are generally taken by mouth or given as a shot and may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Reduce the amount of swelling and helps quickly relieve pain
- Corticosteroids — Reduce swelling and help relieve pain over time
- Disease–modifying anti–rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers (biologics) — Reduce swelling, help relieve pain over time, and slow or prevent joint damage
Physical therapy also helps preserve joint function and may prevent deformities.
View a video with more information on Ankylosing Spondylitis treatment and care.
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