What is Axial Spondyloarthristis ?
Axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) is a group of conditions that include long term inflammation of the joints and ligaments of the spine, this condition is an uncommon cause of lower back pain. Approximately 5 in every 1000 people are diagnosed with axial SpA and is more common in men under the age of 40. This condition is not understood it is believed to be an autoimmune problem which is overprotective of the immune system that leads to inflammation of the spine and other body parts. Unfortunately, there is no cure although medications can be prescribed.
How do I know if I have axial SpA?
To be diagnosed with Axial SpA you will need to see a rheumatologist. Your physiotherapist can help determine whether it is axial SpA or other back pain, this will be determined by asking you questions about your pain followed by an examination. You will be referred to a rheumatologist if your physiotherapist believes you could have Axial SpA. Once you have been diagnosed with Axial SpA your physiotherapist can help you with education about your condition, exercises and self-management.
What can I do at home?
You will need to discuss with your rheumatologist and physiotherapist what you will be able to complete at home. You will need to complete exercises prescribed and monitor your condition to then discuss with your Rheumatologist.
How long will my recovery be?
There are many types of axial SpA where some are more severe. People who are diagnosed with Axial SpA, usually only 5% have a more severe type. Some people recover spontaneously, whilst others need long-term management.
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Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.