Ankylosing Spondylitis: Is It a Flare?
Back pain and stiffness are part of life when you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), but there are times when symptoms get worse or new problems appear, only to go away after a period of time.
These are called “flares,” and working with your doctor to recognize and properly treat them will allow you to better manage your AS.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Flares: An Overview
People with AS have chronic inflammation of the sacroiliac joints that connect the spine to the pelvis, according to the Spondylitis Association of America. Back pain is the most common symptom and characteristic of AS, although it’s not always the first one to appear, says Robert Goldfien, MD, a rheumatologist at Kaiser Permanente East Bay in Richmond, California.
Flares are characterized by a worsening of symptoms like pain and stiffness. They’re typically followed by periods of remission, in which pain lessens. “Any form of inflammatory disease like AS has periods where it’s better or worse,” Dr. Goldfien says.
How often flares come on varies from person to person. Some may experience a flare once or twice a year for a week or two, while others may experience flares once a month or so, he adds.