In fact, middle-aged and older men are at special risk for this unfortunate condition and should take seriously any long-term or chronic lower back pain they are experiencing. Unfortunately, this disease can be difficult to diagnose as it can appear to be rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions and it's common for patients to suffer for many years before an accurate diagnosis is achieved. It may be necessary to really keep after the physicians as you try to track down and identify the condition, since there is not a specific test that can easily identify it.
Effective treatment is critical because ankylosing spondylitis is a serious condition that can lead to hardening of the disks in the vertebrae which causes the spine to be stiff and rigid. In some serious cases, the spinal bones can completely fuse together, leading to many other concerns. Other risks include fracture, loss of mobility and ability to live independently, depression and chronic debilitating pain.
As always, knowledge is the key and learning more about ankylosing spondylitis is critical if you think you or someone you love may be facing this situation. Since it is less common than traditional rheumatoid arthritis, it's not always a physician's first thought to jump immediately to a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis and you may need to direct their attention to this as an idea to consider and worthy of further investigation. Consumers need to be active participants in their own health care today more than ever and this is no exception. Lower back pain can be caused by a long list of reasons but if you've been through all the usual suspects and still nothing seems to help, it's time to consider if ankylosing spondylitis might be the culprit.