Spondylitis is a type of chronic inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and the sacroiliac joints, which are the joints that connect the pelvis to the spine. It is a type of spondyloarthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation in the joints of the spine and other areas of the body.
Stiffness: The joints in the spine and pelvis may feel stiff, especially in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time.
Limited mobility: The pain and stiffness associated with spondylitis can limit your ability to move and perform everyday activities.
Postural changes: People with spondylitis may develop a forward-leaning posture or a hunchback appearance.
Inflammation: The affected joints may become inflamed, causing redness, warmth, and swelling.
Fatigue: Chronic pain and inflammation can also lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue.
Enthesitis: Inflammation of the points where tendons and ligaments attach to bones can cause pain and swelling in the affected areas.
Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors, such as exposure to certain infections, may trigger the development of spondylitis in people who are genetically predisposed to the condition.
Immune system dysfunction: Spondylitis is thought to be the result of an overactive immune system that mistakenly attacks the joints and other parts of the body, leading to inflammation and pain.
Wear and tear: Over time, the repeated stress and strain on the joints and spine can cause wear and tear and lead to the development of spondylitis.
Physical examination: Your doctor will perform a physical examination to assess your back, hips, and other joints for signs of inflammation, pain, and limited mobility.
Imaging tests: Your doctor may order X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans to help diagnose spondylitis and rule out other conditions. These tests can help identify signs of inflammation and damage in the joints and spine.
Laboratory tests: Your doctor may also order laboratory tests, such as blood tests, to help diagnose spondylitis and rule out other conditions. These tests can help detect markers of inflammation and check for other related conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis.
It's important to keep in mind that a definitive diagnosis of spondylitis can sometimes be challenging, and the process may involve multiple visits to the doctor and additional tests. However, with a proper diagnosis, you and your doctor can develop an effective treatment plan to manage your symptoms and improve your overall health.