As If AS Isn't Enough
People with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) have to be careful not to hurt their backs. There is an increased risk of vertebral fracture. In fact, people with AS are four times as likely to fracture their spine compared to adults without AS.
AS is an inherited condition. It is a type of arthritis that causes the spine to fuse together. It affects young people most often. Symptoms first show up between the ages of 15 and 30. AS is rare after age 40. Men are affected two to three times more often than women.
Even minor trauma such as a fall from standing or while walking can cause a serious spine injury among people with AS. The spine can fracture anywhere in the mid- to low back. Treatment depends on the location of the fracture and whether the spine is stable. If the bones aren't stable, movement can occur and cause dislocations and deformities.
Some patients get better with rest and don't need surgery. Most patients have surgery to hold the spine in place safely. Anyone with dislocation of the spine or symptoms of nerve damage will likely
need surgery. The spine is usually fused together at two or more levels. To prevent injury or future fractures, patients are also shown how to lift properly. Preventing spine injuries is important for anyone with AS.
Patrick W. Hitchon, MD, et al. Fractures of the Thoracolumbar Spine Complicating Ankylosing Spondylitis. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. September 2002. Vol. 97. No. 2. Pp. 218-222.
*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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