Diagnosis and Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis


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Diagnosis and Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

History of symptoms and physical examination is very important in diagnosis of Ankylosing spondylitis. Your doctor will take thorough history of your symptoms and do physical examination for lung capacity (by measuring chest circumference on full breath or after full inhalation and once after emptying lungs of air or after full exhalation), check points where you get pain such as hips, back etc. History and physical examination are very important.

Imaging for diagnosis of Ankylosing spondylitis:

  • X-ray may show changes in affected joints and bones. However, in early stage of disease, the changes may not be visible.
  • MRI of affected bones and joints can reveal changes in bones and joints usually not visible in X-ray at early stage. Hence, MRI is preferred method of imaging for helping diagnosis of Ankylosing spondylitis., Diagnosis and Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Lab tests for Ankylosing spondylitis:

There is no specific lab test available currently that can diagnose Ankylosing spondylitis or help in diagnosis. Lab test can be done to detect HLA-B27 gene, however it is not specific, as most individuals with this gene do not suffer from Ankylosing spondylitis. There are tests for markers of inflammation, but inflammation can be caused by numerous diseases and it not helpful in diagnosis.

Treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis:

The aim of treatment of this disease is to get relief from pain and stiffness of joints and delay or possibly prevent development of complications. For this reason the earlier treatment is started the better, preferably before irreversible damages occur in the joints.

Medications for treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Most commonly used medications are NSAIDs for pain and inflammation management. Commonly used are indomethacin and naproxen for pain and stiffness relief as well as to control inflammation. NSIDs can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as bleeding, ulcer etc.
  • If NSAIDs fail to provide result TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blockers are used. TNF is a protein that acts as inflammatory factor in rheumatoid arthritis and using TNF blocker help in blocking the inflammation associated with Ankylosing spondylitis. TNF blockers help in reducing pain, inflammation and stiffness. Commonly used TNF blockers for Ankylosing spondylitis are adalimumab, infliximab, golimumab etc.

Physiotherapy for Ankylosing spondylitis management:

Physiotherapy plays an important role in management of Ankylosing spondylitis. This is very helpful in reducing pain, stiffness and improve flexibility and physical strength. Stretching exercise and range-of-motion can be of great benefit for maintaining mobility and flexibility of affected joints. Physiotherapy must be included in overall management of patients with Ankylosing spondylitis.

Surgery for Ankylosing spondylitis:

Most patient with this disease usually do not require surgery. However, some patients may benefit from surgery if joint damage is severe and irreversible. Damaged joints (such as hip joints) may require joint replacement.

 

Image courtesy of [jk1991] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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