Ankylosing spondylitis (and other seronegativespondyloarthropathies) is a disease characterized by inflammation of the joints between spinal bones (sacroiliac joints, facet joints and discs). It may be associated with inflammation in other joints like hips and knees. Due to the inflammation, patients may complain of pain; morning stiffness; decreased motion in the neck and back; and a progressive tendency of the back to develop a hump (hindi – kubb). Ankylosing spondylitis frequently affects men between 20-40 years and is fairly common in India. Ankylosing spondylitis has a genetic predisposition and can run in families.
These patients often present first to a Spine Surgeon with back and neck pain, who will make a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis on the basis of the clinical picture and X-rays of the spine and pelvis. Some basic blood tests like ESR, CRP and HLA-B27 will also help in the diagnosis and prognostication.