Spondylitis is one of the most common
causes of chronic back ache and pain in the
neck, making it very difficult for a patient to
live a normal, pain-free life.
Spondylitis is a condition caused
by an inflammation of the
vertebrae of the spinal cord.
When the vertebral joints become
inflamed, the vertebrae may grow
or fuse together, leading to a rigid
spine. It’s a form of osteoarthritis
that affects the spine. The pain
may not be felt initially, but
gradually becomes worse as the
Usually, spondylitis starts in the
lower back, proceeding upwards
towards the spine and
leading to chronic back ache.
What is Spondylitis?
What causes Spondylitis?
Genetics appear to be the most
common cause of this condition.
Research shows that over 90
percent of people with this
condition carry a particular gene
called the human leukocyte
antigen B27 (HLA-B27). That
explains why somebody with a
family history of spondylitis is more
likely to develop this condition
than someone who doesn’t.
What are the common
symptoms of spondylitis?
• Loss of coordination or
• Stiff neck or back
• Tingling or numbness
in the affected area
• Difficulty walking and
Severe chronic pain and
discomfort are the most
obvious symptoms of
Identification of the patient’s
symptoms while taking history
is the first step towards
diagnosis. The doctor will also
do a physical examination and
request image tests – X-ray,
MRI, CT scans – to find out the
underlying cause of pain and
see which part of the spine is
Spondylitis be diagnosed?
What treatment options
are there for this condition?
The main aim of any treatment option for this disease is to reduce pain
and stiffness caused by the inflammation of the vertebrae.
Even if the process of degeneration has started or has
been ongoing for many of years, realignment of the
vertebrae to their proper position can slow or the stop
the process from continuing and allow for repair phase
and the best possible range of motion.
What lifestyle changes can help
provide relief from the
symptoms of spondylitis?
People with spondylitis can lead normal
lives with a few lifestyle changes using
pain management techniques advised by
their doctors. Smoking and tobacco are
believed to aggravate the condition,
therefore patients are recommended to
quit smoking to relieve them from pain.
Other measures that should be practiced
Sleeping on a firm mattress with the back straight to avoid fusion of vertebrae
Not sleeping with a large pillow under the neck to avoid fusion of vertebrae near the neck
Not propping up legs as it may cause fusion of joints in the knee region
Maintaining a good posture without any slumping or slouching
Avoiding activities with sudden impacts such as jumping, etc.
Hot baths and showers also provide relief.
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