By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory condition which affects predominantly the spine. The bones becomes fused together causing the spine to be stiff and less flexible. This condition affect men more than women in the early adulthood. In many cases, the posture becomes hunched forward gradually. This condition also affects the hips and the eyes.
At this point in time, ankylosing spondylitis is not curable. Patients can complain of pain in the back and in the hips. The pain is typically worse in the morning or after prolonged period of inactivity. The pain may reduce as the spine becomes more stiff.
In severe cases, the posture is markedly hunched forward. This can affection the forward vision as the face is looking down. Walking becomes difficult. Frequent falls may cause unstable fracture in the spine. This may cause injury to the spinal cord or the nerves.
When the hunch forward is severe, operative treatment should be considered to straighten the spine. This is a big operation which is ideally performed in patients in a younger age group who are healthy.
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.