Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a rare form of arthritis that impacts the spine due to an inflammatory response. People usually first have symptoms in their low back and pelvis but stiffness and pain can progress to other areas as well like the ribs, shoulders and hips.
People with AS often lose mobility in their spine, and in more severe cases the vertebrae fuse together causing someone to hunch over. Other complications can include eye inflammation, compression fractures, and heart problems. While there is no cure for AS, physical therapy, regular exercise, and pain management can help maintain a person's quality of life.
A physical therapist can help one work on posture, deep breathing exercises, flexibility, and core strength. Adding to a person's team of providers should also include a rheumatologist, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, pulmonologist, and any other specialties necessary depending on the side effects one is experiencing. Being proactive with one's health can help reduce the risk of other severe side effects due to Ankylosing Spondylitis.