12 Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms You Can’t Afford to Ignore
Lower back pain affects 80 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, and inflammatory back pain is a type of arthritis that causes swelling and inflammation. Inflammatory back pain is typically treated by a rheumatologist, so it’s critical to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
How Can You Tell If Your Back Pain Is Actually Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) affects each patient differently, and the pain may appear similar to other back pain at first. Some AS patients will develop peripheral symptoms in other joints, which may be mistaken for other types of arthritis.
1. Chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back where your spine meets your pelvis
Ankylosing spondylitis causes chronic pain that comes and goes, with periods of flare-ups and stiffness followed by periods of no pain. Symptoms may ease up or disappear for a time, but they will eventually return.
2. Pain that gets worse with inactivity or sitting still for long periods, such as while you sleep
Inflammatory cells and proteins accumulate when your immune system attacks your joints, which is why people with AS feel better when they are active. It’s not uncommon for AS patients to wake up in the middle of the night, unable to bear the thought of climbing back into bed.
3. Pain that gets better from a hot shower
A hot shower or heating pad can help relieve the aches and pains of AS back pain by loosening up the inflammatory chemicals in your spine and other joints, temporarily alleviating symptoms.
4. ‘Alternating buttock pain’
“Alternating buttock pain” makes it difficult to sit still because the pain moves from side to side in your lower back near your rear end. It’s one of those symptoms that you’ll recognize if you have it.
5. Pain in your ribcage, such as when you exhale
When you exhale, AS can cause inflammation at the point where your rib cage connects to your breastbone and spine, causing it to ache or hurt.
6. Pain in your heel or foot
When you get inflammation in your feet from AS, it can hurt so bad that it affects your ability to walk. A common location is by your Achilles tendon at the back of your heel.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a condition in which your immune system becomes overactive, resulting in a low-grade fever that lasts for days or weeks. Hannah Moskowitz, 27, from New York, had a low fever almost every day for a year.
9. Diarrhea, bloating, or other GI symptoms
There is a genetic link between AS and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and about 10% of AS patients develop IBD. People with AS who do not have an official IBD diagnosis may experience bloating, diarrhea, and other GI symptoms.
10. Uveitis, or eye redness and inflammation
Uveitis, or inflammation of the part of the eye called the uvea, affects up to 30% of AS patients, and treatments like pinkeye eye drops won’t help.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes red, silvery scaly plaques on the skin, as well as joint pain and other symptoms in up to 30% of patients.
Fatigue is more than just being tired from not getting enough sleep; it’s as if you’re too weak and exhausted to function normally, and the tiredness is physical, not just mental. Here’s how to manage arthritis fatigue. For more information on ankylosing spondylitis, see this list.
What does the pain of ankylosing spondylitis feel like?
Ankylosing spondylitis patients frequently describe an ongoing, dull pain that radiates from deep within their lower back or buttocks, as well as morning stiffness, and symptoms that worsen, improve, or disappear at regular intervals.
How do I know if I have ankylosing spondylitis?
There are no specific lab tests to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis; however, certain blood tests can check for markers of inflammation, which can be caused by a variety of health problems. The HLA-B27 gene can be tested in your blood.
What can mimic ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is the most common form of spondyloarthritis, which refers to a group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases that primarily affect the spine but can also affect other joints.
Can ankylosing spondylitis make you feel ill?
“Fatigue from ankylosing spondylitis inflammation can make you feel like you have the flu, and you can ache all over,” says Rochelle Rosian, MD, director of regional rheumatology at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
How serious is ankylosing spondylitis?
People with severe ankylosing spondylitis may develop serious complications, such as: A hunched posture. If the spine fuses together in a hunched forward position, a curled forward, chin-to-chest stance can occur. People who develop this deformity have a permanent downward gaze.
What triggers ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis has no known cause, though genetic factors appear to play a role. People who have the HLA-B27 gene are at a significantly higher risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis, though only a small percentage of people with the gene develop the disease.
What should you not do with ankylosing spondylitis?
Even if you take prescribed medication to improve your quality of life, some lifestyle choices can exacerbate symptoms.
- Being overweight.
- Lack of sleep.
- Chronic stress.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Poor posture.
- Doing too much.
- Not taking medication as directed.
How do you rule out ankylosing spondylitis?
X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the two most common imaging tests used to diagnose ankylosing spondylitis, but each has its own set of limitations and challenges. According to European medical guidelines, traditional X-rays of the sacroiliac joints should be used as the first imaging method to diagnose AS.
Does cold weather affect ankylosing spondylitis?
The data show that the proportion of weather-sensitive patients in ankylosing spondylitis is similar to that in other rheumatic diseases, confirming the clinical impact of the issue.
What is the difference between spondylitis and ankylosing spondylitis?
This lifelong condition, also known as Bechterew disease, usually begins in your lower back and can spread to your neck or other parts of your body, causing joint damage. ” Ankylosis ” refers to fused bones or other hard tissue, while ” Spondylitis ” refers to inflammation of the spinal bones, or vertebrae.
How does ankylosing spondylitis affect the bowel?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colitis can develop in people with ankylosing spondylitis, so it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you have diarrhoea for more than two weeks or if your poos are bloody or slimy.
What organs can be affected by ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis can affect the eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys in rare cases. The best treatment for ankylosing spondylitis is a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
Is ankylosing spondylitis considered a disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists ankylosing spondylitis (along with other spondyloarthropathies) as a potentially disabling illness under the ankylosing spondylitis section of its inflammatory arthritis listing (along with other spondyloarthropathies).
Can ankylosing spondylitis cause flu like symptoms?
Generalized flares are more severe and can affect multiple parts of the body, including flu-like illness (fever, sweating), hot, burning joints, muscle spasms, and increased sensitivity, in addition to the above symptoms.
Can ankylosing spondylitis cause brain fog?
Brain fog is a symptom of chronic arthritis conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis. Without getting too technical, signals to and from pain receptors interfere with normal brain function during an AS symptom flare.