Spondylitis

Spondylitis in women

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of spondylitis

The current global burden of musculoskeletal diseases is extremely high. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 50% of the current global population suffers from different types of musculoskeletal diseases. These diseases aggravate more to give rise to degenerative bone diseases. The most common disease belonging to this category is spondylitis. The scenario is quite grave in India. Nearly 0.25% of the Indian population suffers from spondylitis, mostly accompanied by spine stiffness. A particular form of this disease known as ankylosing spondylitis affects nearly 0.1-1.8% of people globally. The statistics of the Arthritis Foundation, United States show that around 350 million people in different parts of the world suffer from 140 different types of arthritis.

 

What is spondylitis?

Spondylitis xraySpondylitis is defined as an inflammatory condition that affects the vertebra. It is a form of spondylopathy, which is a class of vertebral diseases, marked by pain, inflammation, and immobility of the spine and the adjoining, structures (ligaments and tendons). Spondylitis that involves multiple vertebral joints is known as spondylarthritis. In many cases, the sacroiliac joint, that connects the spine with the pelvis also becomes inflamed. Some of the neighboring joints such as that of the shoulders, ribs, knees, hips and often, the lower extremities are also affected. The places where the ligaments and the tendons attach to the bones also suffer inflammation. The patients typically experience mild to moderate back pain which is intermittent in nature. In the more advanced stages, a fusion of the affected bones occurs, leading to the loss of flexibility of the bones, stiffening of the rib cage and a subsequent reduction in lung capacity. 

 

Are some people at greater risks for spondylitis?

The onset of the disease begins in the adolescence itself. The symptoms manifest themselves in a full-fledged manner before the age of 30. Nearly 5% of the patients develop the symptoms after the age of 45. In a majority of the cases, men are twice as likely to get the disease compared to women.

 

What are the main causes of spondylitis?

Spondylitis is triggered by environmental and genetic factors. Some of the causative factors are listed below-

  • Natural disintegration and weakening of body muscles and joints occur with age (above 40) which can lead to joint damage
  • Increased pressure on the vertebra due to obesity and overweight conditions
  • Injury of the joints due to mechanical blow or rigorous physical activities
  • Injured meniscus, tendons or ligaments due to accidental twisting and bending
  • Ancestral history of osteoarthritis or spondylitis (due to HLA-DRB1 gene or mutation of collagen II gene)
  • Existing joint diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis or septic arthritis
  • Lifting of heavy weights on a regular basis due to occupational requirements
  • Autoimmune disorders leading to degeneration of the synovial tissues (primary contributor- Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 22 gene)
  • Food materials like artificial fats, processed meat, refined carbohydrates, alcohol that evoke inflammation
  • Poor body postures

 

Genetics of spondylitis

Spondylitis in womenThe genetics of the disease needs to be discussed separately since it plays a pivotal role in the occurrence of the disease in the future generations. The primary gene that is responsible for the disease is HLA-B27. It is not necessary that people who have this gene are definitely going to have spondylitis. The statistics of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and skin diseases show that around 1 in 20 people who are the carriers of the HLA-B27 gene have the disease. The interaction between the CD8 T cells and HLA-B is believed to be the contributing factor in these cases. Recent studies have proven the roles of two additional genes- ERAP1 and IL23R in spondylitis.

 

How do you know if a person has spondylitis?

Spondylitis is an inflammatory disease marked by pain and stiffness of the spine. The following signs are readily identifiable-

  • Temporary immobility and stiffness in the joints especially in the morning
  • Pain and stiffness in the neck, back, and buttocks
  • Pain and inflammation in the tendons and the ligaments, which is felt mainly in the chest, back of the heel or underneath the foot
  • Inflammation and swelling of the joints and the soft tissues
  • Joint pain during slight movements
  • Temporary immobility (permanent immobility may also occur due to ankylosed or fused joints)
  • Cracking and crunching sounds during normal joint movements
  • Weakness and fatigue of muscles (may lead to muscular dystrophy)
  • Pain radiating to neighboring regions (lower extremities)
  • Redness around the joint area
  • Extreme tenderness and touch sensitivity of joints
  • Throbbing pain in the joint and muscles after some activity
  • Bone and joint deformities (at an advanced stage)
  • Disturbed sleep due to increased joint pain at night
  • Difficulty maintaining normal body postures
  • Difficulty performing mundane activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs
  • Body aches and fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visible bulges (due to bone spurs)

 

What are the different types of spondylitis?

Based on the etiology spondylitis is of two types-

  • Ankylosing spondylitis: It is a degenerative disease of the spine, characterized by an inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the vertebral bones. It is characterized by pain and inflammation in the spine or the vertebra.
  • Pott’s disease: In this disease, swelling and inflammation of the vertebral bones occur due to a form of tuberculosis that affects the lungs. The upper lumbar and the lower thoracic vertebra are mainly affected in this case.

 

Diagnostic tests

  • Blood tests: The patients generally show an elevated level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and ESR.
  • Genetic tests: These are required to test for HLA-B27.
  • BASDAI: The Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) gives a measure of the inflammatory burden of the existing diseases.
  • Schober’s test: It measures the flexion of the lumbar spine.

 

Treatment and prevention

Spondylitis and the spineThe treatment of spondylitis focuses on decreasing the pain and stiffness and slowing down the spinal deformities. The medication usually comprises of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), though an overdose of these could lead to severe gastrointestinal complications. An early diagnosis is important for effective recovery. Physiotherapy can also be prescribed in addition to the medications.

Care should be taken while treating the patients with some of the broad-spectrum drugs such as corticosteroids. Otherwise additional systemic complications like cardiac and renal diseases may arise, which would worsen the pre-existing conditions.

In order to prevent the onset of spondylitis, one must be involved in regular physical exercises. More so, if he/she has a family history of spondylitis. Practice good posture and completely cut down on smoking and other forms of tobacco consumption. Consume a well-balanced nutritious diet and try to get ample of vitamin D and calcium.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • A thin pillow and hard-mattress combination should be used. Wearing a cervical collar also helps.
  • Lying flat on the stomach is not advisable. Avoid long drives and journeys. When traveling use the seat-belt to avoid jerking motion of the neck and spine.
Don'ts
  • Perform high intensity and high impact exercises if suffering from cervical spondylitis.
  • Sit stationary at one position for a long time. Take breaks from work/driving and move around a bit.
  • Lift heavy weights. Also, avoid leaning your neck on one side while talking on the phone.

 

 

 

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Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
hYdroxycut pills
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top 10 deadliest diseases
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kefir bottle
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Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
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Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
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How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
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5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
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7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
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Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
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Infertility profile (women) The infertility profile tests in women are conducted to form a complete picture of the hormonal balance and…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
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Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
Echocardiogram
Echocardiography – ECHO Echocardiography (commonly known as ECHO) is an imaging modality (similar to ultrasonography) used to visualize the interior of…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
chloride test
Chloride Test A chloride test of the blood checks the level of chloride in body, an important factor governing the…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
cytomegalovirus igm test
Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) – IgM Test The CMV antibodies include both IgM and IgG antibodies which are the immune system's response to a CMV…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
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Facts about the Shepherd’s diet Kristina Wilds promoted Shepherd's diet, a Christian-based diet that highlights Jesus Christ's diet as mentioned in the Bible.
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…

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