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Symptoms and Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Orthopedic Perspective

Doctor's Notes on Ankylosing Spondylitis, Orthopedic Perspective

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the spine and the area where the spine connects to the pelvis (known as the sacroiliac joints).

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis usually develop gradually, begin in late adolescence, and include low back pain (pain is described as dull), hip pain, and stiffness, or both. The pain often begins on one side and comes and goes, but as the disease progresses, then becomes more persistent and affects both sides. Later symptoms include upper back pain and pain in the ribs. Long-term involvement of the spine eventually leads to a progressive decrease in range of motion. Complications of ankylosing spondylitis include inflammation of the iris, inflammation of the aorta, stiffening of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis), and decreased function of the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and nerves.

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


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