Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a systemic condition leading to the inflammation of the spine and sometimes larger peripheral joints like hips, shoulders, and knees. The chronic inflammation can lead to the destruction of ligaments and causes ossification (bone growth) in the joint. The cause is unknown but research points to possible genetic and environmental factors.
Symptoms of AS include recurrent episodes of low back pain, morning stiffness, and limited back extension over a 3-month period. When/if the condition progresses the pain becomes more consistent and severe, and it can eventually affect the upper back and neck.
Management for AS can be in the form of anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy for postural training, strengthening, and stretching. High impact activities and exercises that cause excessive flexion/bending are highly advised against. Surgery is rarely performed.