Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

A to Z: Spondylitis, Ankylosing

May also be called: AS; Rheumatoid Spondylitis; Spondylarthroarthritis

Ankylosing spondylitis (ang-kih-LOH-sing spon-duh-LIE-tis) is a chronic (long-term) type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints of the spine and the pelvic bones.

More to Know

"Ankylosing" means joining together, and "spondylitis" means inflammation (pain and swelling) in the vertebrae (the bones that make up the spine). AS causes inflammation in the joints in the spine and between the spine and pelvis.


As part of healing, the body can form new bone. This may cause vertebrae to become fused together, leading to a less flexible spine. Some people with AS can have inflammation in other joints, the eyes, and rarely even in the heart and lungs.

Doctors don't know what causes AS, but there is a strong genetic association. It usually begins in the late teen years or young adulthood. The signs and symptoms of AS may get better or worse from time to time, but it is a lifelong condition.

Back pain and stiffness, joint pain, swelling, fatigue, and a hunched posture are common symptoms. Treatment involves medications and exercises to relieve symptoms and keep the back as strong and flexible as possible.

Keep in Mind

There is no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, but starting treatment as early as possible can help control pain and minimize complications.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

What next?

By using this site, you consent to our use of cookies. To learn more, read our privacy policy.

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.