Frequent pain and stiffness in the lower back or buttocks that begins gradually and feels worse in the morning and at night are early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, states Spondylitis Association of America. Fever, loss of appetite and general discomfort are additional symptoms.
As the disease progresses, pain spreads up along the spine to the neck causing pain in the ribs, shoulders, hips, thighs and heels, explains Spondylitis Association of America. Infrequently, the pain begins in a joint, such as the ankle, hip, elbow, knee, heel or shoulder. Bowel and eye inflammation are other possible symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. Patients may also suffer from fatigue as well as neurological and cardiovascular issues, notes Medical News Today. Rest does not improve symptoms, and sleep disturbances may occur.
A form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic, inflammatory condition that can cause increasing pain, according to Medical News Today. The spinal bones erode and may fuse, leading to possible deformity in later stages. It most commonly appears in young adults under the age of 40, and it afflicts men more often than women. It is also more common in Caucasians than in African Americans, and it tends to run in families.
There is no cure or known prevention for ankylosing spondylitis, and the damage it causes is irreversible, advises Medical News Today. Treatment involves medications to control pain and inflammation and physical therapy to maintain mobility.