It is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. The symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis mainly include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. In this condition, the spine's bones fuse together, which leads to a rigid spine. Early diagnosis and treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis can help to control pain and stiffness and might reduce or prevent deformity as well. This problem affects about 0.1% to 0.5% of the adult population. Though Ankylosing spondylitis can occur at any age, but it mostly affects men in their teens and 20s. Ankylosing spondylitis is less common and usually milder in women.
Pain in the back anywhere below the ribs and up to the hips is called low back pain. It is a condition that affects over 90% of the population at one time or the other. Next to common cold, it remains the most common reason why people seek medical help.
Many people who experience low back pain do not meet up with a doctor since it usually resolves on its own. They may suffer from any dull aches to sharp pains or even numbness. The pain characteristically lingers on for a day or two before it gradually subsides. In many, the pains keep recurring in varying intensities.
Studies have shown that back pain is the single most reason cited by employees for taking maximum number of 'sick leaves'. Stresses and strains of daily living and overuse and misuse of the muscles of the back are the commonest causes of backache.
Cervical spondylitis is a common degenerative condition of the cervical (neck) spine that most likely is caused by age-related changes (wear and tear) in the intervertebral disc and vertebrae of the neck. Research has shown that CSM (cervical spondylotic myelopathy) is the most common cause of non-traumatic weakness in limbs and a persistent stiffness and nagging pain in the neck.
'Spondylo' is a Greek word-meaning vertebra. Spondylitis (or Spondylosis) means changes in the vertebral joint characterized by increasing degeneration of the intervertebral disc with subsequent changes in the bones and soft tissues.
Most often in people above the age of 40, the intervertebral discs get progressively dehydrated and they become more compressible and less elastic. Mineral deposition starts occurring in the intervertebral disc resulting in secondary changes. Although majority of individuals over 40 years of age demonstrate significant radiological evidence of the above changes, only a small percentage develop symptoms of the same. Another noteworthy point is that sometimes the degenerative changes in the cervical spine can be visible on the X-ray as early as in 30's but it does not call for any treatment if the patient is not symptomatic.
The above changes result in compression of the nerves leading to radiculopathy (pain, numbness, weakness and loss of reflex due to compression and irritation of spinal nerve) or compression of the spinal cord resulting in cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) (commonly caused by spinal stenosis resulting in loss of movements and sensation). Both the neural and spinal cord compression will result in radiculomyelopathy.
Gout is a form of arthritis which is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. In this condition, due to a metabolic dysfunction, there is deposition of uric acid in and around the joints causing severe painfulness, swelling and restricted mobility of the affected joint.
Osteoarthritis is one of the types of arthritis that is caused due to degeneration and eventually loss of the cartilage of joints. Cartilage is a tissue that covers the inside of the joints and acts as a cushion between the two bones forming a joint. When the cartilage starts undergoing degeneration, the bone becomes inflamed as its protective covering is lost. This causes pain during weight bearing activities such as standing, walking, etc.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. This condition can also affect the tissues surrounding the joints (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as well as other organs of the body (skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs and muscles). RA is a chronic condition and it tends to last for many years though there are periods in between when the patient is without any symptom. RA is a progressive condition and over a period of time, it causes joint destruction and functional disability.