Symptoms and Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Neurologic Perspective

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Neurologic Perspective

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic illness disease that affects the joints near the center of the body, particularly the spine and sacroiliac joints that are located at the lowest end of the spine where the sacrum meets the iliac bone in the pelvis, and can lead to eventual fusion of the spine.

Neurologic symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are low back pain and stiffness that gradually increases over three or more months. The pain is usually described as worse in the morning and improving during the day, better with activity and worse with inactivity, a gradual ascending pattern from the lumbar region (lower back) to the thoracic spine (mid-spine) and then the cervical spine (neck), and improves in response to anti-inflammatory medications. Some people with AS experience proximal joint (hips, knees) involvement and rarely, small joint (ankles, toes) involvement. Symptoms may also include pain and stiffness of the rib cage, breathlessness on exertion, and fibrosis (scarring) in the upper lobes of the lungs.

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.