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Stiffening and pain (arthritis) of the:
- Lower back
- Sacroiliac joint, where the back and hip meet, possibly radiating down the legs
- Pain that is often worse at night
- Stiffness that is worse in the morning
- Symptom improvement with exercise or activity
Occasionally, pain and stiffness in other joints:
- Upper back
- Rib cage
- Chest pain, which may suggest heart, heart valve, or lung problems
- Eye pain, visual changes, increased tearing
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Numbness (if arthritic spurs compress the spinal nerves)
- Blood in the urine or swelling from kidney disease
- Irregular heart beat
- Dramatic loss of motion of the lower back and spine
- Pain in the lower back
- Limited chest expansion when taking deep breaths
- HLA-B27 gene marker
- Abnormalities in the blood
- Signs of autoimmune disease
- Over-the-counter medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Prescription medication that suppresses the inflammation such as:
- Prescription NSAIDs
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-inhibitors
- Learning proper posture and the best positions for sleeping
Exercise program that includes:
- Abdominal and back exercises (to decrease back stiffness and maintain good posture)
- Stretching exercises
- Water exercises
- Breathing exercises (in cases where the rib cage is affected)
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
Spondylitis Association of America http://www.spondylitis.org
The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca
Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association http://www.spondylitis.ca
Ankylosing spondylitis. Spondylitis Association of America website. Available at: http://www.spondylitis.org/about/as.aspx. Accessed December 17, 2014.
Ankylosing spondylitis. University of Washington Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Department website. Available at: http://www.orthop.washington.edu/?q=patient-care/articles/arthritis/ankylosing-spondylitis.html. Accessed December 17, 2014.
Firestein ED et al. Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2008.
10/2/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: FDA approves new drug to treat psoriasis. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm183851.htm. Updated April 17, 2013. Accessed December 17, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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