Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic form of arthritis. In AS, the spine and sacroiliac joints characteristically become chronically inflamed and stiffened. The SI joints, as they are sometimes called, are the joints between the sacrum and the pelvis. They are located on either side of the sacrum, one of the lowest bones in the spinal column. With AS, eventually the spine can completely fuse, resulting in total loss of spinal mobility.
AS can affect anyone; however, it most often strikes young men in their teens and twenties.
In men, usually the spine and sacroiliac joints are affected. In women and children, involvement of the extremities and hips can be more prominent.
Children with AS do not generally complain of back pain. They do tend to have hip problems later in life, and often require hip replacement surgery because of it.
The symptoms of AS are:
- slow onset of symptoms (weeks to months)
- early morning joint/spine stiffness and pain that feels better as the day goes on, and feeling worse after rest and better after exercise
- feeling feverish and having night sweats
More Information on ankylosing spondylitis