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Ankylosing Spondylitis: When should one seek medical help?

By  , Expert Content
Apr 05, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is chronic arthritis, which affects the joints in the spine and the sacroiliac joints. Signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) are related to joints and organs affected by the disease. Back pain, however, is the most common and significant symptom of AS. In most cases, the pain starts in the lower back, which is mild and the person tends to consider it to be a simple backache at first.


Consult a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms suggestive of some significant problem:

  • Back pain: This is the most common symptom of AS. Most people experience pain in the lower back, which is mild and hence, the person tends to consider it to be a simple backache at first. The pain increases gradually and may even involve the buttocks and go down the rear of the thighs. In AS, the pain may be more after waking up from sleep and exercise and movement may decrease the pain. The pain is usually worse in the morning after waking up and tends to ease as the day progresses.
  • Pain and stiffness in back: Stiffness of spine may make bending and other movements difficult. The stiffness is usually worse in the morning after waking up and tends to ease with activity and as the day progresses.
  • Symptoms such as pain, stiffness, heat, swelling, warmth and/or redness in any joint.
  • Pain and stiffness in the back of the heel. This may be particularly evident when pushing off while climbing stairs.
  • Pain in chest on coughing and tenderness on touching.
  • Pain and tenderness of foot, which last for more than a few days.
  • General symptoms such as feeling generally unwell, tiredness, weight loss or anaemia along with back pain or other joint symptoms.

These are some symptoms that may be experienced by a person with AS. Having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have AS. The doctor can examine you and do tests to confirm the cause of your symptoms and treat it accordingly.


If you have AS, consult a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms suggestive of some significant problem:

  • Pain or redness of eye or blurred vision as uveitis in AS can damage your eyesight.
  • Chest pain or difficulty in breathing. Chest pain can make deep breathing exercises difficult, which help to maintain chest expansion and may worsen your breathing.
  • There is a significant increase in back pain or new symptoms develop during treatment.

 

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