Ankylosing Spondylitis

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is another type of arthritis. There are different types of ankylosing spondylitis.

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Types of spondylitis

Axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA)

Axial SpA causes inflammation in the spine and/or pelvis that typically brings on inflammatory back pain. AxSpA is a broad category that includes people with and without characteristic inflammatory changes of the sacroiliac joints – joints linking the lowest part of the spine to the pelvis – seen on X-ray. Almost all people with ankylosing spondylitis fit into the category of AxSpA.

Peripheral spondyloarthritis (pSpA)

Peripheral SpA commonly causes inflammation in joints and/or tendons outside the spine or sacroiliac joints. Commonly involved sites include joints in the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, and feet. Inflammation of the tendons can occur in the fingers or toes (dactylitis) or where tendons and ligaments meet with bone (enthesitis). 

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Treatment of spondylitis with IBD

Treatments for ankylosing spondylitis are similar to those used to manage IBD. They include the biologics infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab. Other drugs such as steroids and immunomodulators do not seem to help very much with ankylosing spondylitis.

If you are experiencing pain in your joints or back, visit our Pain section for strategies to help you manage your extraintestinal pain.

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Additional resources

To learn more about Ankylosing Spondylitis, check out resources from the Canadian Spondylitis Association.

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