also called Rheumatoid Spondylitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling between the vertebrae, which are the discs that make up the spine, and in the joints between the spine and pelvis.
Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease. This means the immune system, which normally protects the body from infection, attacks the body's own tissues. The disease is more common and more severe in men. It often runs in families.
Early symptoms include back pain and stiffness. These problems often start in late adolescence or early adulthood.
Over time, ankylosing spondylitis can fuse the vertebrae together, limiting movement. Symptoms can worsen or improve or stop altogether. The disease has no cure, but medicines can relieve the pain, swelling and other symptoms. Exercise can also help.