Everyone has experienced the backache, regardless, whatever the root cause is and how rapidly it goes off.
Among all the medical conditions, back pain is acclaimed as the most common medical complaint.
Due to the frequent episodes of a backache, your work performance can also be reduced.
Undoubtedly, all adults report back pain and get medical attention at least once in their life, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Most commonly, backache occurs due to any mechanical issue of your spine, leading to excessive strain over the spine and manifesting a variety of symptoms.
But, if the pain doesn’t go away with the time, you should take action because it can be an indication of a more serious problem called Ankylosing spondylitis.
Ankylosing Spondylitis- The spine’s health destroyer
Ankylosing spondylitis(AS) is the progressive form of arthritis, affecting mainly spine, but you could experience pain in hips, knees, and shoulders if AS is severe.
Since back pain can be the alone sign of many hidden reasons, diagnoses of ankylosing spondylitis are difficult.
Doctors often missed the ankylosing spondylitis due to its similar clinical presentation with other conditions.
Because the hidden reason for back pain can’t be ruled out as soon as it should be, the institute reported that the Americans spend more than 50 billion dollars on treating the low back pain.
In ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation in your spine occurs in the early phase, causing pain and discomfort.
As it advances, the vertebrae may start to fuse and become fixed in an immobile position due to the development of abnormal bone growth.
Eventually, your mobility will be reduced severely, thus, decreasing your overall functionality.
Can you guess what would be your posture when your spine get locked? You’ll develop the forward-stooped posture as a result of AS. Hence, don’t ever ignore the minor symptoms!
Men are more vulnerable to get ankylosing spondylitis than women. NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease) reported that the risk of AS in men is nearly two times higher as compared to women.
However, the onset of the disease is the same in both genders, but, women are diagnosed lately. Do you know why?
Well, Dr. Petros Efthimiou, MD, associate chief of rheumatology at New York Methodist in New York City, explained that the Ankylosing Spondylitis tends to progress gradually in women, that’s why it’s not ruled out easily in early phases.
He also said that women with AS would get pain in various areas of the body (most commonly cervical and peripheral joints), whereas, men get pain in the lower back, which could somehow lead to the diagnoses of AS.
6 less-known alarming signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
What first symptom came in your mind after reading Ankylosing Spondylitis? Is it back pain? well, AS is more than back pain.
Because its clinical manifestation is unique and different, it may sound that its early signs have no connection with ankylosing spondylitis and you would dismiss as the occasional medical problems.
The following are the symptoms that you should take seriously to prevent further complications and seek the medical help earlier.
1- Back pain accompanied by stiffness
For almost every spinal problem, back pain plus stiffness is the cardinal symptom, However, the pattern and nature of this symptom may vary from one condition to another.
According to the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA), the pain of ankyloses spondylitis starts in the lower back and buttock.
The onset of pain is usually gradual over a few weeks to months. As ankyloses spondylitis is an inflammatory disease, inactivity and rest could increase pain and stiffness.
If you’re experiencing the mild to severe bouts of pain and stiffness after waking up, then, don’t waste your time and consult your doctor immediately. Also, it tends to worsen with exercise. So, try not to dismiss these key points!
2- Unexplained chest, heel, and joint pain
Rather than back pain, some people often experience pain initially in a heel, wrists, ankles, or even other joints.
If the pain in the heel is constant, you may not even stand or walk properly. Plantar fasciitis could also be related to ankylosing spondylitis.
Your ribs meet the spine to form the rib cage. If ankylosing spondylitis is affecting you at the chest level, then, you would have a strapped-in feeling.
The feeling of chest tightness would be more likely if the AS is advanced. Your ribs will also be tender and breathing would somehow become a difficult task for you. However, coughing or even sneezing may aggravate chest pain.
3- Eye Problem
It sounds weird that how could eye problem is linked with AS, but as a fact, iritis is also one of the primary symptoms that one-third of patients of ankylosing spondylitis encountered. Iritis is the inflammation of iris which could be treated.
If you’re experiencing pain around the eye, headache, light sensitivity, redness, change in pupil size, blurred or cloudy vision, and floating specks, then, go and get checked ASAP.
4- Symptoms go away after taking NSAIDs
By taking anti-inflammatory medicines, people suffering from AS would get pain relief in a meanwhile. Nevertheless, these medicines won’t change the course of disease either.
After further investigation, your doctor will prescribe you advance drugs. These drugs target the specific components of the immune system, responsible for causing inflammation.
Hence, in such a way, the progression of the disease can be controlled, but other medical options, including surgery, is prioritize when medicines won’t help you.
5- Frequent episodes of Fatigue
Because pain and stiffness would be flaring up by the time, you would get fatigued frequently. Continuous pain and worsening of the condition would let you drag you into depression and frustration as well. Also, anemia is associated with the fatigue is reported in a majority of cases.
6- Bowel and bladder problems
If you’ve been suffering from diarrhea for more than 2 weeks and passing a bloody stool, report to the doctor right away. People with AS could develop the inflammation of bowel and bladder.
Early investigation of AS could lead to a better prognosis devoid of any complications. So, make a wise decision and kick away your careless attitude towards your health!