Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of spinal arthritis, most importantly affecting young males, that eventually causes ankylosis of vertebral and sacro-iliac joints.
This causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe chronic pain and discomfort. If it is not treated then in the worse conditions it can lead to new bone formation on the spine, causing the spine to be fixed, immobile and forcing a forward stooped posture.
AS – Ankylosing Spondylitis can also cause inflammation, pain and stiffness in other areas of the body such as shoulders, hips, ribs, heels and small joints of hands and feet.
The most important symptoms that help in identifying Ankylosing Spondylitis include:
- Pain in the buttocks
- Back pain and back stiffness
Cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Its cause is not completely understood but it is believed to be partly related to genetics. It is more common in those families already facing the condition. One theory is that AS is triggered by something in the environment such as infection. There is no evidence however, that an infection is the reason behind this disease, but if it is then the immune system responds to the trigger by producing chemicals that cause inflammation in the joints and in other parts of the body.