Spondylitis is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine. It causes inflammation of the vertebrae, which can lead to severe pain and discomfort. In advanced cases, it can lead to erosion of the joint between the spine and the hip or development of new bone followed by fused vertebrae. The disease is most common among young people (ages 17 to 35), tends to be hereditary, and affects men two to three times more than women.
Physicians at our Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases collaborate with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) specialists in orthopaedics, bone and joint radiology, occupational and physical therapy, pain management, physiatry, and other services to evaluate and treat spondylitis.
Spondylitis symptoms tend to originate in the lower back and buttocks and develop gradually over a period of weeks or months. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to disappear and reappear at irregular intervals.
Typical signs of spondylitis include:
Additional symptoms may include:
Following a complete medical history and a thorough physical examination, your physician may also order one or more of the following diagnostic tests to evaluate your condition:
Treatment for spondylitis is focused on reducing pain and stiffness and preventing deformities. Treatments may include: