Ankylosing spondylitis: 9 possible complications

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that often lasts a lifetime. Anyone diagnosed with the condition should be aware of the complications that it presents to health.Certain treatment methods can help reduce these complications as well as the progression of the disorder.

This article looks at some of these complications and discusses the treatment options available for them.


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis and triggers painful inflammation in the body, most commonly centered in the back and buttocks. Symptoms can spread as the disorder progresses, with pain and inflammation commonly felt in the pelvis, hips, heels, and other large joints.

As the condition progresses, unchecked inflammation can contribute to other complications that can affect a person’s life. The effects of these complications can vary from mild to debilitating, and people should speak with a doctor to understand what their options are to help manage all of their symptoms.

1. Eye problems

red eye

As ankylosing spondylitis progresses, unchecked inflammation may occur in the eyes causing painful eyes that may be red or puffy.

The doctor or rheumatologist will often encourage a person to visit an ophthalmologist regularly to have their eyes checked.

If inflammation spreads to the eyes, it can cause symptoms, such as swollen, painful eyes that may be red or puffy.Some cases can also cause blurred and impaired vision, sensitivity to light, and severe pain.There are prescription medications used to treat these symptoms. Wearing dark glasses also can help.

2. Reduced flexibility

Damage to the back and joints caused by inflammation can restrict the movement of the muscles and bones as it progresses. For some people, this can result in very limited movement in the spine.

This reduced flexibility happens when the bones of the lower back fuse together. The fusing of the bones makes it difficult for a person to move and can even cause the back to get stuck in one position. Rare cases may lead to severe disability.

In many cases, people who follow a regular treatment plan that includes stretching and exercise can help keep their bodies more flexible and remain mobile for longer.

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