ABC Medical Center > Ankylosing spondylitis

What is Ankylosing spondylitis?

16:03 - 9 November , 2021


It is a chronic inflammatory process in which the vertebrae fuse together over time, limiting movement and flexibility, and causing hunching.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a fairly common disease, whose origin is unknown, but some factors can contribute to its appearance, such as genetics, being male, and being between 20 and 30 years old.

Being a systemic disease, it can damage organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

Signs and symptoms Ankylosing spondylitis

  • Inflammation.
  • Stiffness.
  • Intense pain in the hips and lower back, mainly in the morning and after spending a long time without movement.
  • Neck pain and fatigue.

The areas of the body with the greatest damage are usually:

  • Hip and shoulders.
  • Base of the spine and pelvic area.
  • Cartilaginous tissue between the sternum and the ribs.
  • Ligaments and tendons that join the bones of the spine.
  • Lumbar vertebrae.

These symptoms can be controlled to some extent, but joint damage is irreversible. Therefore, it is advisable to exercise and avoid obesity to help slow down the disease and its consequences.

Potential risks:

  • Uveitis.
  • Photosensitivity.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Vertebral fractures.
  • Heart conditions.

Diagnosis and treatment Ankylosing spondylitis

In addition to analyzing your symptoms and clinical history, your doctor will perform a physical examination of the affected joints to determine your degree of inflammation, stiffness, and pain, in addition to requesting imaging studies such as MRI and X-rays to identify changes in the joints and bones, mainly in the spine and pelvis.

They will also request laboratory and blood tests to try to identify the HLA-B27 gene, whose presence is frequent in cases of ankylosing spondylitis.

The treatment plan focuses on minimizing the symptoms and delaying the complications and deformity of the spine, through the intake of the following drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatories.
  • Painkillers.
  • Tumor necrosis factor blockers.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Interleukin-17 inhibitors.

Physiotherapy turns out to be essential to relieve pain and improve strength and flexibility, whose exercises and programs will be designed according to your needs and abilities.

In advanced cases where the pain is too severe, you may be prescribed surgical treatments such as joint replacement or repair.

At the Orthopedics and Traumatology Center, we seek to improve the lives of patients restricted or immobilized by musculoskeletal disorders or injuries. We specialize in the care of the locomotor system by integrating the latest medical, biological, and technological advances, in strict adherence to the highest international standards of patient care.


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  • Lescano RMA, Solís CU, Rosero MLP. Reporte de necrosis avascular en un paciente con espondilitis anquilosante. Rev Cub de Reu. 2019;21(Suppl: 1):1-5.
  • Salcedo-Hernández MJ, Aguilar-Ríos EA, Delgado-Nuño JE, et al. Enfermedad valvular cardiaca en espondilitis anquilosante. Residente. 2019;14(1):11-16.
  • Andaluz CME, Cifuentes TMY, Dávila AEM, et al. La uveítis como manifestación inicial de la espondilitis anquilosante. A propósito de un caso. Rev Cub de Reu. 2017;19(Suppl: 1):220-223.

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