Bekhterev's disease (spondylitis)

Ankylosing spondylitis is a genetic rheumatic disease that mainly presents with outbursts of inflammation of the spine.

Overview

Ankylosing spondylitis is a genetic rheumatic disease that mainly presents with outbursts of inflammation of the spine. Dull back pain is therefore very typical. Consistent physiotherapy and doing regular exercises at home are the most important measures to provide relief and slow the progression of this incurable disease.

Symptoms

Course
  • Highly variable, gradual progression
  • Spine stiffens over time

Causes and treatment

Cause

  • Genetic susceptibility is suspected
    • 90 to 95% of sufferers have the HLA-B27 antigen on the surface of their white blood cells

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination of the spine
  • Blood test (HLA-B27, inflammatory markers, etc.)
  • Imaging of the spine
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
    • X-ray
Possible therapies
  • Most important measure: consistent physiotherapy
    • Regular exercises at home
  • Medication
    • Anti-inflammatories and painkillers
    • NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen)
    • Cortisone (for severe attacks)

What can I do myself?

  • Follow a consistent programme of physiotherapy exercises by yourself

When to see a doctor?

  • Reduced or declining mobility of the spine
  • Regular back pain
    • Lower back pain (typical: at intersection between spine and pelvis)
  • Stiffness in the morning
  • General joint pains
  • Unexplained weight loss

Further information

Rheumaliga Schweiz (Swiss League against Rheumatism)
www.rheumaliga.ch

Schweizerische Vereinigung Morbus Bechterew (Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of Switzerland)
www.bechterew.ch

Synonyms

ankylosing spondylitis, Bekhterev's disease

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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