What could it be?
What Is Spondyloarthritis?
• Spondyloarthritis includes many forms of inflammatory arthritis like ankylosing spondylitis.
• Back pain and stiffness are the main symptoms and can extend from the neck to the pelvis. Inflammation can affect large joints, the eyes and the intestines.
Who Gets Spondyloarthritis?
• Spondyloarthritis strikes early, often in the teens and 20s, and affects mostly men.
• Having a family history puts you at higher risk. Scientists have found many genes associated with it.
When to See Your Doctor or Rheumatologist
• Get an evaluation for persistent lower back pain. Medical intervention is key to limit joint damage and manage related conditions, including:
– Aortic valve inflammation
– Crohn’s disease and other forms of intestinal inflammation
• Your doctor may order imaging tests such as X-rays or blood tests to confirm a diagnosis.
• Medication and exercise can reduce inflammation and the risk for bone fusion.
• Drug therapy begins with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and progresses to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs or biologics to limit joint damage.
• Back exercises and other physical activities relieve symptoms and boost the quality of life.
Top Lifestyle Tips
• Work with a physical therapist on exercises and techniques to increase mobility and ease the pain.
• Consider massage, acupuncture and naturopathy.
• If you smoke, quit. Smoking aggravates the condition and can hasten spinal fusion.
• Improve sleep by getting a supportive mattress, sleeping flat on your back, and practicing good sleep hygiene.