Joint pain is a common symptom of many different conditions, including spondyloarthritis – an inflammatory, autoimmune disorder which affects the spines and joints of the body. While joint pain can have a number of causes, spondyloarthritis is one of the most severe and disabling, causing inflammation and pain that can persist for years. Understanding the connection between joint pain and spondyloarthritis can mean the difference between getting proper treatment and suffering unnecessarily.
What is Spondyloarthritis?
Spondyloarthritis – sometimes simply referred to as spondylitis – is an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation of the spine and joints. It is classified as one of a group of conditions called seronegative spondyloarthropathy and is associated with other diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis.
Most commonly, people with spondyloarthritis experience pain and inflammation in the joints of the lower back, neck, and hips. In some cases, the inflammation can spread to the eyes and other organs. While the exact cause of spondyloarthritis is unknown, genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role.
Common Symptoms of Spondyloarthritis
The most common symptom of spondyloarthritis is joint pain, which is usually described as a deep, persistent ache. Other symptoms may include:
- Stiffness – particularly first thing in the morning
- Fatigue and a general feeling of tiredness
- Swelling of the joints
- Inflammation of the eyes and other organs
- Redness and warmth in the affected area
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Depression and other mood changes
If you’re experiencing persistent joint pain, it is important to visit your doctor. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis of spondyloarthritis if they can rule out other musculoskeletal conditions and diseases. To do this, they will generally order tests like X-rays, MRI scans, and blood tests.
It is important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible in order to get the right treatment and slow down the progression of the disease. Left untreated, spondyloarthritis can cause chronic pain and disability, as well as other complications like ankylosis (fusion of the spine) and aortic valve disease.
Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available to help manage the joint pain and other symptoms associated with spondyloarthritis. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe medication, physical therapy, or lifestyle modifications. In some cases, surgery may be necessary in order to reduce the pain and preserve joint function.
Although there is no cure for spondyloarthritis, it is possible to manage the condition and reduce the impact it has on your quality of life. By understanding the connection between joint pain and spondyloarthritis, you can work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.
Joint pain is a common symptom of many different conditions, including spondyloarthritis – an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation of the spines and joints. Understanding the connection between joint pain and spondyloarthritis is important in order to get the right diagnosis and treatment. With the right care, it is possible to manage the condition and reduce the impact it has on your health and quality of life.