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Spondyloarthritis is a net term for all of the inflammatory diseases responsible for causing arthritis. They are hereditary and symptoms can begin to appear as early as the teen years. However, you don't have to be related to someone with the disease to develop it, and males are 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with spondyloarthritis than females.
These types of arthritis affect the spine and can manifest as pain, swelling and stiffness in various parts of the body. The most common symptom is lower back pain due to inflammation of the spine, but the patient can also experience discomfort in the hands, feet, arms and legs.
Spondyloarthritis is dangerous because it can cause both inflammation of tendons and ligaments as well as destruction of bones, leading to spinal deformities and limited range of motion of joints such as the hips and shoulders. These problems can make regular joint function and maintaining posture difficult. Visiting a doctor is important if you are experiencing symptoms, as spondyloarthritis can require X-rays, MRIs and blood tests to be accurately diagnosed. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness or swelling in any of the neck, back, buttocks, arms, legs, backs of heels or bottom of feet.
Treatment of spondyloarthritis usually involves physical therapy to increase motion and relieve inflammation in the affected joints. If drug treatment is required in addition to physical therapy, the doctor begins by prescribing NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen or meloxicam. These are medications with an anti-inflammatory purpose. However, the long term side effects are detrimental to health.
Corticosteroids injected into the painful joint site can provide quick relief when the troublesome area can be pinpointed. More type-specific medications like disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or biologic DMARDs may be prescribed for cases that do not respond to more general treatments. The most drastic treatment is surgery to modify or replace parts that have been damaged and cause excessive pain or severely limit motion and activity.
Spondyloarthritis can be serious but also easily treatable. Consult your doctor if you are concerned you may have spondyloarthritis. The type of treatment prescribed will be specific to your particular type of spondyloarthritis to obtain the most effective results.