Up to 2.5% of Americans have a condition in the spondyloarthritis family. The team of esteemed rheumatology specialists at Arthritis Associates understands how uncomfortable and disruptive spondyloarthritis symptoms can be, and they’re ready to help at their conveniently located San Antonio, Texas, office. Schedule your appointment by calling the office or clicking the online link.
Spondyloarthritis is a group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases that lead to arthritis. Other types of arthritis occur within the joints, but spondyloarthritis occurs where ligaments and tendons connect to bones.
The most common kind of spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, mainly causes symptoms in the spine, as does spondylitis (a type of psoriatic arthritis of the spine).
Other types of spondyloarthritis may cause symptoms in other areas; for example, peripheral spondyloarthritis mainly affects the arms and legs while axial spondyloarthritis affects both the spine and the hip/pelvis area.
The specific symptoms of spondyloarthritis can vary with the particular form of the disease, but, in most cases, back pain is the main symptom.
Many people experience lower back pain, but it may also affect the hips, knees, elbows, fingers, toes, heels, or nearly any joint in your body. Some people with spondyloarthritis experience swelling, weakness, and joint stiffness as well.
Spondyloarthritis often occurs along with non-joint conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), eye inflammation (uveitis), and skin psoriasis.
Your diagnosis includes a detailed medical history review, symptom evaluation, and a full physical exam. The team often uses X-ray imaging to check for telltale changes within the lower spine (sacroiliac) joints.
Blood tests can be another key part of spondyloarthritis diagnosis. Most people with the main form of spondyloarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, carry the HLA-B27 gene.
While the presence of this gene doesn't automatically mean that you have spondyloarthritis, it does mean you’re at risk, and it can be an important diagnostic marker when combined with other information.
Arthritis Associates performs all spondyloarthritis diagnostic testing on-site.
Physical therapy and special exercises to stabilize your spine are very important for all people with spondyloarthritis. Medications can also be a major part of your treatment:
Oral NSAIDs can be highly effective in relieving inflammation and pain for most people.
If you have severe swelling in specific joints, corticosteroid injections can decrease the swelling while also relieving your pain for as long as a couple of months at a time. But, most medical experts advise against oral corticosteroids. Research shows that occasional injections are safe, but if you take daily oral corticosteroids, you're at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.
DMARDs can reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms and may also guard against joint damage. They're most effective for peripheral spondyloarthritis.
Injections or intravenous (IV) infusions of biologic medications can control symptoms quite effectively for most forms of spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Associates has an on-site infusion center for this type of treatment.
The Arthritis Associates team can diagnose and treat your spondyloarthritis all in one place. Book your appointment online or call the office.