A chronic inflammation of the sacroiliac joints and the spine is termed as ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Stiffness and pain in the spinal area is caused by chronic inflammation in these joints located in the area where the sacrum meets the iliac bones. In certain cases, it may affect other organs including the heart, kidneys, eyes and the lungs.
It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts to attack the body in confusion. Over time, it can also affect other tissues in the body. If it is left untreated or ignored, it can lead to ankylosis, or fusion (cementing together) of the vertebrae. With the passage of time, new bones start to form as a part of repair mechanism and grow along with the spine which makes it inflexible and stiff.
Who is affected by ankylosing spondylitis?
- Men have two times higher risk than women for this disease.
- All age groups can develop this disease.
- Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis is the term used to describe this disease in children.
- The probability is high when a person reaches 15-30 years of age.
- According to the Arthritis Society, 150,000 to 300,000 people in Canada suffer from it.
It is a highly variable type of disease which may cause different symptoms ranging from:
- Back pain
- Severe chronic pain
- Stiffness in the spine
- Bone fusion
- Pain in ligaments
Genetics play a vital role in developing this disease, so a person with a family history with AS may have a higher risk factor. Although there is no cure for AS, early detection along with the right treatment can help in taking control over it and avoid further problems.
For people who are already diagnosed with AS, medications such as Celebrex (Celekoxib) can be taken after taking advice of a qualified medical professional. It is prescribed to relieve from pain, stiffness or swelling caused by ankylosing spondylitis.
It belongs to a class of medications called COX2 inhibitors which reduce the production of substances that can cause pain. Other treatments include physiotherapy, exercising and surgery of a combination of the treatments.
It is important to consult a registered medical practitioner before taking any medication. Some medications may not work effectively based on the health condition or any other complications. So it is important to discuss any health conditions or other medications that you are currently taking before starting with this treatment. Also, to avoid any serious side effects, it is important to take it only if it is prescribed to you.