24 Apr What is Ankylosis Spondylitis?
Ankylosis Spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis or an inflammatory disease that effects the spine and large joints of the body. Over time, this disease can cause some of the vertebrae (small bones of the spine) to fuse. This fusion will make the spine less flexible and may result in the development of a hunched posture. If the ribs are affected by ankylosis spondylitis, one may experience difficulty with breathing. The signs and symptoms of this condition typically manifest in early adulthood and tends to affect a greater proportion of men than women. This condition can also cause inflammation to occur in other parts of the body, especially the eyes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for AS but appropriate treatment can help to relieve the symptoms and possibly slow down the progression of the disease.
Although there is no known specific cause of ankylosis spondylitis, it is believed to be genetically inherited. AS most commonly affects the:
- Joint between the base of the spine and the pelvis.
- The vertebrae of the lower back.
- The places where tendons and ligaments attach to the bones, mainly in the spine and back of the heel.
- The cartilage between the breastbone and ribs.
- The shoulder and hip joints.
Symptoms of ankylosis spondylitis include:
- Pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips, especially in the mornings or after a period of being inactive. The pain may be so severe at times that it may wake you from your sleep.
- Neck pain
- Feeling fatigued
- Tendon and ligament pain often felt at the front of the chest, back of the heel and underneath the foot. These symptoms can change from day to day and can flare up unexpectedly.
It is best to seek medical attention if the pain slowly occurs in the lower back or buttocks, and tends to worsen when you are resting, but is relieved with exercise. Because AS can cause inflammation to the eyes, you should see an optometrist if you develop severe light sensitivity, blurred vision, and/or painful red eye(s).
As mentioned above, there is no cure for AS. Treatment for this condition aims to manage pain, reduce the risk of associated complications occurring, and improving your quality of life. Treatments may involve taking medication prescribed by your GP and together with physical therapy such as osteopathy. An osteopath will be able to tailor your treatment plan according to your specific needs, the severity of your condition, your age and fitness level. Osteopaths will use non-manipulative techniques to relieve your pain, reduce any stiffness and improve your spinal mobility.
Exercise also has a role in managing ankylosis spondylitis as exercising and staying physically active will keep your spine mobile and flexible. Performing water exercises can help to maintain and improve your spinal strength.
Here at OsteoVision, our team of specialists are always available to assist you and offer advice. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your symptoms, have any questions, would like to book an appointment or require more information about ankylosis spondylitis.
Call: 03303 904 300
You can also book an appointment online at www.osteovision.life
Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2018. Ankylosing spondylitis – Better Health Channel. [online] Available at:
Ian, 2017. Ankylosing Spondylitis Manual Therapy by Osteopaths. [online] Camosteopathy.co.uk. Available at:
Mayo Clinic. 2019. Ankylosing spondylitis – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: