Diagnosis Of Uterine Fibroids

Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae which form a complete vertebral column. It helps support the body weight and protects the spinal cord.

The spine is divided into
cervical spine (in the neck region)
thoracic spine (shoulders to waist)
lumbar spine (lower back)

The spinal nerves pass through the vertebrae and the discs in between.

Other parts that complete the spine are joints on the back of the vertebrae, which facilitate movement, and the cartilage which covers these joints. Then there are muscles, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels which all work in tandem, when you move, bend or do other activities that involve the spine.

Ankylosing Spondylitis, from the group of rheumatic conditions, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the spine and sometimes other parts of the body as well. It causes pain and stiffness of the spine. In the early stages, you may feel pain in the back of the pelvis which may spread to the buttocks and thighs.

Symptoms of AS may appear as early as the age of fifteen. It can affect the whole spine, but the stiffness and inflammation usually begins from the lower back or the lumbar spine and gradually spreads to the cervical spine. You may also find that the stiffness improves with exercise.

Further, you may experience stiffness of thoracic spine and restricted chest expansion when you breathe. Your shoulders, hips, knees and heels may feel painful and stiff. There might be numbness or weakness of lower body and even incontinence in severe cases.

AS compresses the spinal nerves that exit from the vertebrae. It also destroys the cartilage that covers the joints on the back of the vertebrae. When the disease progresses further, joint movement may become painful. Your bodys defense mechanism may try stopping the movement of the joints by forming a new bone that will stop movement. This bone might grow between the vertebrae and cause them to fuse together. This process is called ossification and can put you at a risk for fracture.

AS is diagnosed with the help of physical tests like Schober test, Gaenslen test, chin-brow measurement and chest expansion. Neurological assessment is also done on symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness and bladder or bowel changes. An X-ray can reveal AS and further CT scan or MRI may be required for detailed evaluation of bone and soft tissues.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for AS but the pain from inflammation and stiffness can be controlled with the help of some treatments. It is believed that AS is a hereditary disease. Researchers have also been able to establish a connection between AS and a particular bacteria which causes inflammation of the ligaments.

Exercise is beneficial for AS patients. Anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy are also helpful if AS is diagnosed early. A brace can help stabilize the spine but needs to be worn for at least 3 months. Surgery is resorted to only when the condition is so severe that it immobilizes the patient. An osteotomy can be performed to realign bone ends or a laminectomy can take the pressure off the spinal nerves. Devices like rods and bars can help hold the spine in position and an adhesive process to join the bones may also be used.

About the Author:
Ron Smith is a free lance writer and a Health & Fitness expert who has been associated with several health care providers across various specialties. Through his articles, Smith wishes to inform and educate the public about laser spine surgery which will benefit those who are looking for useful information on health.

Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Ankylosing-Spondylitis—–Symptoms–Diagnosis-And-Treatment/1412700

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