Understanding Ankylosing Spondylitis
If you still wake up stiff and sore every morning, you may be experiencing inflammatory back pain (IBP), which could be caused by a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)…and if you’re thinking arthritis is only a condition for the elderly, signs of AS typically begin to appear between the ages of 15 and 45.
Don’t be confused by the silly-sounding name. Ankylosing Spondylitis is a serious disease with real consequences (only one of which is winning spelling bees). It causes inflammation in the spine, and may also affect other organs in the body – including the eyes, the gut, and the joints of the hands and feet. Left undiagnosed and unmanaged, AS can lead to permanent stiffening of the spine and can even cause the vertebrae to painfully fuse.
The bad news is, AS can be hereditary and men are three times more likely to suffer from it than women. The good news is, unlike many other forms of back pain, AS actually improves with movement and exercise.
So the question is: is your back pain inflammatory back pain?