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"Anything I can do for ankylosing spondylitis?"


My doc said the pain in my back was from ankylosing spondylitis but said that it has cleared up. I still have pain though. Could I still have it and my doctor is wrong? Should I get a second opinion?


Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition that involves inflammation in the spine and can cause back pain that can be quite severe. The disease causes inflammation and subsequent fusion of the vertebrae causing a very stiff back that can be painful. The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis is a bit complex, but involves looking at x-rays of the back, and seeing the progression of the disease over time.

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In addition, there is a genetic test that each person that is suspected to have ankylosing spondylitis should have. Over 90% of patients with this disease have a gene called HLA B27. The HLA B27 gene is an immune system gene that increases the likelihood that one will develop this disease. If you do have ankylosing spondylitis, you should be followed by a rheumatologist. This is a specialist that deals with these types of inflammatory diseases and will be best equipped to recommend and initiate treatment. While I think that it is good news that your pain has cleared up, affirming your diagnosis is important. The rheumatologist will be able to give you the second opinion that you are looking for. Be sure to bring with you any x-rays of your back, and be prepared to be tested for the HLA B27 gene.

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