Look carefully at these images. What do you see?
This iconic imagery of the progressively bent person has long been associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Figure 3 represents a person with a FUSED SPINE.
How does the disease progress to fusion?
The long standing inflammation characteristic of Ankylosing Spondylitis may lead to increasing damage to the spinal bones over time and could ultimately result in fusion of the spinal bones or ‘ankylosis’.1
Increasing pain, stiffness and immobility are usually the signs of progressing disease.2-4
So how is Ankylosing Spondylitis different from other arthritic diseases?
Other arthritic diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis) result in bone destruction, but Ankylosing Spondylitis involves both bone destruction and new bone formation which results in Fusion.5
Keeping this in mind, the next step would be to ensure that the treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis targets both bone erosion and bone formation. There are treatment options now available, which target both erosion and formation effectively and slow down fusion.
References:1. Lories RJU and Schett G. Rheum Dis Clin N Am 2012;38:555–567. 2. Sieper J, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2002;61(Suppl III):iii8–iii18. 3. Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis Available [Online] at: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/ankylosing-spondylitis#1 Accessed on 10 Dec 2018. 4. Gran JT, et al. British Journal of Rheumatology 1997;36:766-771. 5. Magrey MN and Khan MA. Curr Rheumatol Rep 2017;19:17.