Ankylosing spondylitis is a protracted inflammatory condition that can affect various joints, as well as the eyes and intestines. Most frequently, however, the disease targets the spine. Doctors classify ankylosing spondylitis as a form of spinal arthritis to clearly distinguish it from common back injuries. The condition can be more harmful than common back problems because it may eventually impede mobility and damage eyesight. Ankylosing spondylitis usually develops between the ages of 17 and 45, although children can get it too. It's more common in men, although some experts believe this is due to under-diagnosis in women.
Ankylosing spondylitis and regular back injuries may start in the same way. The patient tells the doctor that they strained a muscle, and shortly afterward, the back pain begins. However, the pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis comes from inflammation around the spine rather than trauma and therefore requires different treatment.
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