Hello and welcome to this episode of The Ankylosing Spondylitis Podcast. I hope everybody is doing well as we all face this lock down together across the country, across the world. Today I wanted to talk about an article I found in Creaky Joints, which is a website that I like to go to is creakyjoints.org
and I'll have a link in the show notes. And it was really interesting because I've talked about a few of these items in previous episodes. The article is titled; Nine Ankylosing Spondylitis Complications you need to know about and it really deals with the comorbidities that we can encounter when we have Ankylosing Spondylitis. So as we all know, Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes inflammation, you know, pain and stiffness, it predominantly affects the lower back spine and the sacroiliac joints, which are the joints where the spine meets up with the pelvis. Well, we asked what's behind all the inflammation that comes on and is basically body's immune system is releasing chemicals and attacking your joints causes pain, stiffness, and eventually long term joint damage. I've had that with my sacroiliac joints being fused, and the damage that was done to my hips, resulting in hip replacements. So compared with many other forms of arthritis, AS generally for most folks begins when they're young, I've seen people in some of the online forums say that they were diagnosed when they were as young as five, six years old. As I've said in other episodes, I had symptoms back as early as nine or ten that I'm aware of, and was diagnosed when I was 14. Many of us develop a lower back pain and it's worse when there's an activity or you know, when you wake up in the morning, you can have that stiff painful back and as you get moving in the day, it tends to lessen it can present an ongoing and dull pain throughout the day. That is like it's coming from deep within the lower back or towards your buttocks. Because back and hip pain are incredibly common. You know, it's easy for people with AS to chalk up the symptoms to other issues such as athletic or overuse injuries. AS symptoms aren't limited to our lower back. The disease can also affect like I said, the neck, peripheral joints, shoulders, knees, you know, hips, it can affect all of it. So all chronic inflammatory lower back pain can be a telltale sign of Ankylosing Spondylitis. The disease can have a wide-ranging impact on patient’s health and well being the inflammation and joint damage of as are linked with a number of additional complications. And it's important for us as patients to understand those and be aware of them and proactively try to prevent these or manage them as best we can. So let's go through these common Ankylosing Spondylitis, comorbidities and complications.
Number one - Ankylosing Spondylitis and forward curve of the spine. This is something that I deal with a lot spondylitis can cause overgrowth of the bones in your spine. This can lead to fusion, which is the abnormal joining of the bones. “By definition Ankylosing Spondylitis affects the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis first, and then marches its way up to the spine,” says Maureen Dubreuil, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Boston University School of Medicine who specializes in spinal arthritis. It may not follow that exact pattern, but you can have involvement at any part of the spine, the neck, ribcage, and lumbar spine, so in the past, people with AS, develop significant changes in their posture over time. That's what I deal with, I am hunched over quite a bit so that when I walk, I am looking down at the ground and not up. It's actually very challenging for me to walk and look forward at the same time. It develops excruciating pain in the back as I try to straighten the spine up and it's very visible on x rays where you can see that that growth in that fusion in the vertebrae and in the spine, so it's disheartening and alive. A lot of ways, but its... Support this podcast