All Patients of Dr. Burke Orthopedics: Due to an unexpected medical issue, Dr. Burke will not be in the office treating patients until August 29th, 2022. All surgeries will be postponed until September 27th, 2022. Our staff will continue seeing patients in our offices and taking care of any needs outside of Dr. Burke’s care in his absence. We do apologize for this inconvenience and urge you to reach out to our staff if you have any questions or concerns. If you have been scheduled for surgery within this timeframe and feel you cannot wait for treatment, please, contact our office as soon as possible so we can assist you in obtaining a new surgeon capable of completing your treatment. We look forward to continuing to provide our patients with exceptional orthopedic care until Dr. Burke’s return.
Our Pearland office will reopen tomorrow, 2/19/2021, for normal business hours 8:30am to 5pm.

What’s Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of arthritis that is thought to be an autoimmune disease. This condition is also known as Bechterew’s Disease and Marie-Strumpell Disease. It primarily affects the joints of the spine, but other joints throughout the body may also be affected. The symptoms generally begin at the SI joint causing sacroiliac dysfunction then travel up the spine. SI joint dysfunction is a hallmark symptom of this disease. The effect that it has on the spine can be mild to severe. This condition will cause the joints and surrounding structures of the spine to be chronically inflamed, leading eventually to a fusion of the entire spinal column. This occurs because of calcification of the ligaments and intervertebral discs of the spine.

What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis

It is not concretely known what causes Ankylosing Spondylitis. Genetic factors seem to play a main role and patients are usually born with this condition. Ankylosing spondylitis seems to run in families, but not everyone that has the gene related to this, develops full blown symptoms. If symptoms are going to show up, it likely won’t be until a person is in their 20s and 30s.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms

Unlike other forms of arthritis, when pain is usually relieved with rest, Ankylosing Spondylitis can present in the opposite way – pain worsening with rest. Symptoms include:

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Significant loss of range of motion in the spine
  • Sacroiliitis which causes pain in the lower back and buttock region
  • Stiffness and low back pain that is worse in the morning and decrease as the day goes on
  • Pain that worsens with rest, and lessened with activity
  • Pain in the chest or abdomen when Ankylosing Spondylitis symptoms affect the thoracic spine
  • Difficulty breathing and an excessive kyphotic posture leading to a ‘humpback’
  • Difficulty walking
If You Are Experiencing Symptoms, Schedule an Appointment Dr. Burke Orthopedics Immediately.

Ankylosing Spondylosis Treatment

There is no cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis, there is only management of symptoms through conservative means such as physical therapy. In physical therapy, treatments will consist of:

  • Keeping moving with aerobic exercise
  • Maintaining flexibility of muscles and surrounding structures of the spine
  • Increasing mobility of joints using hands-on, manual techniques
  • Correcting muscular imbalances, and using muscles energy techniques to decrease sacroiliac dysfunction
  • Deep breathing exercises in order to maintain motion and flexibility in the chest area if the disease is affecting the thoracic spine.
  • Learning diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Being educated on posture, not just while sitting but sleeping as well
  • Other options include pain medication, NSAIDS in an attempt to lessen the inflammation, and steroid injections
  • In extremely severe cases, surgical intervention may be discussed, but this is rare

All of the above interventions besides medications and surgery, will be provided by a physical therapist. A physical therapist is especially important to seek help from for a person with this condition in order to slow down the progression of the disease and any physical deformities it may cause. Leaving it untreated and not exercising regularly will eventually lead to a total loss of independence. Physical therapy care is the key to not losing independence and maintaining mobility. A healthy spine is a flexible spine.

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Disclaimer: Please note all medical information contained within this website should never be interpreted as a diagnosis or recommendation of treatment. If a diagnosis is needed, contact Dr. Burke Orthopedics for a personalized consultation. Information shared in testimonials and reviews are specific to that particular patient and may not be representative of the experience of others.