ArthritisCARE offers holistic health care for patients suffering from connective tissue disease and joint inflammation. Our Rheumatologists embrace the latest technology and use their many years of experience and knowledge to provide expert, friendly ankylosing spondylitis treatment in Brisbane.
What is ankylosing spondylitis (AS)?
AS is an inflammatory condition typically affecting the spine, neck, back, and pelvis. This causes pain and stiffness, especially in your sacroiliac joints (the joints connecting your pelvis to the base of your spine). Although primarily impacting your spine, AS can affect other parts of the body, including:
In a very small percentage of cases, AS is associated with an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
AS is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the joints in your spine, neck, and pelvis.
What causes ankylosing spondylitis?
Currently, the cause of AS is not known. However, research has found that there are several factors that increase your risk of developing this condition:
- Family history: if someone in your family has AS
- The HLA-B27 gene, although it is important to note that this gene is also seen in healthy people, does not mean you will develop AS.
- Two new genes, IL23R and ARTS1, have recently been found to be associated with AS.
What are the signs and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?
The signs and symptoms of AS vary between patients; however, the early stages of AS usually appear as common back pain. From there, you may notice:
- Back, buttocks, or neck stiffness and pain
- Worsening of symptoms after sleep or rest, relieved by movement and exercise.
- Pain in the connective tissues of the chest, heel, or underneath your foot. Connective tissues are the ligaments (which connect bones to bones) and tendons (which connect muscles to bones).
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How is ankylosing spondylitis diagnosed?
We use a combination of physical examination, blood tests, and review of your symptoms to diagnose AS.
If it is early in the disease process or to help diagnose AS, your Rheumatologist may order an MRI scan. This provides highly detailed images of your spine and joints and can pick up the disease before it shows up on x-rays.
As your AS progresses, or if it is not diagnosed until it has advanced, an x-ray will be able to pick up areas of calcification in your spine. This is why early diagnosis and intervention are essential. Rheumatologists aim to avoid AS progressing to this stage.
To diagnose AS arthritis, we use a combination of physical examination, your symptoms, blood tests, x-rays, and an MRI.
What happens if I am diagnosed with AS?
With new medical advancements and treatments available, most patients with AS can lead healthy, active lives. There may be times they experience “flare-ups,” where the symptoms worsen. However, in most cases, AS is well-controlled.
In a few cases of AS, people may experience severe, long-lasting pain due to spine inflammation causing new bone growth around the joints. This causes permanent stiffness in the back, and in severe cases, the extra bone may fuse the spine together, causing pain and a bent or forward-stooped posture.
What are the options for ankylosing spondylitis
treatment in Brisbane?
- The expert team at ArthritisCARE will tailor the right treatment for you based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition. We will work with you to find a combination of effective treatments to help alleviate your symptoms of AS.
Medications for AS
There are several different medications we can use as effective treatments for AS:
- Analgesics (pain relief) such as paracetamol
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), also known as biologic DMARDs,
- Corticosteroid oral medication or injections
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
Alternative treatment options for AS
Any form of arthritis can benefit from other forms of treatment, not just medication. We recommend a combination of physiotherapy and low-impact exercises to help keep your spine and joints flexible, your muscles strong, control your weight, improve your posture, and provide relief from inflammation and pain. You can try:
- Gentle walks
- Hydrotherapy or exercises in water
- Stationary bike
If you suffer from AS, the ArthritisCARE team can help
Our team at ArthritisCARE understands how the pain, inflammation, and discomfort of AS can negatively impact your quality of life. We treat patients with AS plus other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and other inflammatory autoimmune diseases every day. We have many years of experience and skills, with a focus on helping improve your health and well-being. We offer holistic health care, working collaboratively to treat your AS and significantly improve how you feel each day.
Meet Dr. Peter Landsberg
Dr Peter Landsberg founded ArthritisCARE in 2016 to meet the needs of a rapidly increasing number of patients with rheumatological conditions. He has grown this practice since then and is proud of the highly skilled, friendly team of Rheumatologists and support staff who are passionate about helping patients improve their quality of life with accurate, timely diagnosis and effective treatments.
How to contact us
You can find the ArthritisCARE team here:
Read through our frequently asked questions about AS below.
There are some complications and diseases that are associated with AS:
- 30% of people with AS may develop eye inflammation (iritis).
- In severe AS or in the late stages of the disease, bones may be prone to fractures.
- In 5–10% of cases, AS has been associated with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
Where can I learn more about Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis Australia’s Ankylosing Spondylitis Resources page
Arthritis Australia’s Printable Information Sheet about Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis Australia Booklet: Taking Control of your Ankylosing Spondylitis
Empowered: If you have concerns or want more information about ankylosing spondylitis, this website is designed to help.
Ankylosing Spondylitis News: Resources and regularly updated news items about AS
“Ankylosing Spondylitis: How to diagnose and treat it” – Video and blog post by Dr. Peter Landsberg (Rheumatologist at ArthritisCARE in Brisbane)
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If you’re suffering from joint pain, stiffness, or other symptoms related to arthritis, lupus, or other rheumatic conditions, we are here to help. Our team of experienced Rheumatologists is dedicated to providing personalized care and effective treatment options that can help alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.