Ankylosing Spondylitis is a Pain in the Back

Sometimes life can throw a mean curveball and try as you might, you just can’t dodge it. Ankylosing spondylitis is one of those curveballs.

For some people, it can lie dormant throughout their lives, despite having the HLA-B27 genetic marker. They may never even know that ankylosing spondylitis exists.

But for others, like Sara Frankl, a traumatic injury can trigger the gene to wake up and cause havoc. It’s interesting to note that you don’t have to have the genetic marker to have this debilitating disease.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine. In severe cases, it can affect the eyes, kidneys, heart, and other organs.

In many cases, but not all, people with ankylosing spondylitis experience spinal fusion.

Because the bones are busy producing extra cartilage, the disks merge into each other. This causes excruciating pain and forces the patient into a stooped position. Other people may go through life experiencing less-than-debilitating back pain. There is no known cure.

Ankylosing spondylitis is usually diagnosed by a rheumatologist because it falls into the auto-immune disease category. Treatment varies from person to person, but medication, exercise, and physical therapy are the usual treatment protocol.

Do you have ankylosing spondylitis? Share your thoughts with the Patient Worthy community!

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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