What does ankylosing spondylitis pain feel like?

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

"chronic, it’s daily, and it’s unceasing, It’s enough to drive you insane."

“Bad days make me want to stay in bed, especially when I can barely put socks on. Those days remind me to move it or lose it. Today, I'm okay, thankfully.”

"On a high pain day, I feel like I just woke up after being hit by a truck. That is the best way I can describe it."

“My severe days also equal terrible irritability, brain fog, and massive fatigue. Of course the pain, too, which only us spondies know. Today is manageable.”

At first, you may feel pain only on one side of your body, or it may alternate sides. The pain is usually dull and feels like it’s all over your body, rather than localized. In the early stages of Ankylosing Spondylitis, you might also have a mild fever, loss of appetite and general discomfort.

People with Ankylosing Spondylitis often describe an ongoing, dull pain that feels like it’s coming from deep within their lower back or buttocks, along with morning stiffness. It is not unusual for symptoms to worsen, get better or stop completely at regular intervals. One very important symptom is back pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It is important to note that inflammatory back pain is different from mechanical back pain and often people with Ankylosing Spondylitis find that exercise can help reduce pain.


Most people with back pain — and some 80 percent of Americans experience lower back pain in their lives — chalk up their symptoms to mechanical problems with the way the bones, nerves, discs, and other parts of the spine function. Mechanical back pain is what happens when you have a bulging or slipped disc, or when you “throw your back out” moving furniture.

But there’s another kind of back pain you need to know about, and it has to do with inflammation in the vertebrae of your spine and in the sacroiliac joints (where the spine connects with the pelvis). This back pain is considered a type of arthritis that causes swelling and inflammation. It is known as ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA).

Inflammatory back pain like AS is treated very differently from mechanical back pain, and it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. A rheumatologist is the kind of doctor that typically treats inflammatory back pain.


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