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Ankylosing Spondylitis

A form of arthritis that affects the spine, the sacroiliac joints, and sometimes the hips and shoulders. In severe cases, the joints of the spine fuse and the spine becomes rigid.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

About Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the joints in the spine. Its name comes from the Greek words "ankylos," meaning stiffening of a joint, and "spondylo," meaning vertebrae (small bones in the backbone).

Ankylosing spondylitis belongs to a group of disorders that are associated with swelling of the joints and spine. Although these disorders have similarities, they also have features that distinguish them from one another. The hallmark of ankylosing spondylitis is swelling of the joint where the bottom vertebra of the spine (sacrum) joins the pelvic bone (ilium).

In some people, ankylosing spondylitis can also affect the shoulders, ribs, hips, knees, and feet. It can also affect areas where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bones. It is possible that it can affect other organs, such as the eyes, bowel, and—more rarely—the heart and lungs.
NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Methotrexate for ankylosing spondylitis

Researchers in the Cochrane Collaboration conducted a review about the effect of the drug methotrexate in people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). They identified three studies, which included 116 participants, that met the inclusion criteria.

Physiotherapy for ankylosing spondylitis

To answer this question, scientists working with the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group found and analyzed 11 studies testing over 700 people who had ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Studies compared people who did exercises at home, went to group exercise programs, went to spa or balneotherapy, performed different exercise programs or had no therapy at all. These studies provide the best evidence we have today.

Sulfasalazine for ankylosing spondylitis

We conducted a review of the effect of sulfasalazine for people with ankylosing spondylitis. After searching for all relevant studies up to November 2013, we found 11 studies involving 895 people. Our findings are summarised below.

See all (103)

Summaries for consumers

Secukinumab (Cosentyx) for ankylosing spondylitis: Overview

Secukinumab (trade name: Cosentyx) has been approved since November 2015 for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bekhtherev disease). The drug is an option for people who did not benefit enough from a conventional therapy.

Methotrexate for ankylosing spondylitis

Researchers in the Cochrane Collaboration conducted a review about the effect of the drug methotrexate in people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS). They identified three studies, which included 116 participants, that met the inclusion criteria.

Physiotherapy for ankylosing spondylitis

To answer this question, scientists working with the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group found and analyzed 11 studies testing over 700 people who had ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Studies compared people who did exercises at home, went to group exercise programs, went to spa or balneotherapy, performed different exercise programs or had no therapy at all. These studies provide the best evidence we have today.

See all (14)

Terms to know

Antibodies
A protein produced by the immune system in response to a foreign substance such as a virus or bacterium.
Arthritis
A general term for conditions that cause inflammation (swelling) of the joints and surrounding tissues. Some forms of arthritis may occur simultaneously with osteoporosis and Paget's disease.
Inflammation
Redness, swelling, pain, and/or a feeling of heat in an area of the body. This is a protective reaction to injury, disease, or irritation of the tissues.
Sacroiliac Joint
The joints where the spine and pelvis attach. The sacroiliac joints are often affected by types of arthritis referred to as spondyloarthropathies.
Spine
The bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues that reach from the base of the skull to the tailbone. The spine encloses the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Also called backbone, spinal column, and vertebral column.
Spondylitis
The inflammation of a vertebra.
Spondyloarthropathy
A form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints.
Vertebrae
The individual bones that make up the spinal column.

More about Ankylosing Spondylitis

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Other terms to know: See all 8
Antibodies, Arthritis, Inflammation

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