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What’s the story withAnkylosing
Spondylitis (AS)?

What is AS?

Ankylosing Spondylitis (Ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss).
AS is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the spine, but can also cause pain and stiffness in other areas of the body, like your shoulder blades, hips, and feet. Its name may be hard to remember, but the pain it causes definitely isn’t.

Haven’t heard of AS?
You’re not alone. Part of the reason is that AS is tough to diagnose. There’s no one definitive test to diagnose AS, and It’s often confused with mechanical back pain—the kind caused by injury or physical strain.

Who gets AS?

AS may be more common than was once thought. Studies show it affects an estimated 1 out of every 200 adults in the US, which comes out to about 1.1 million Americans with AS. That’s pretty close to another inflammatory joint disease you may have heard of—rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA affects 1.3 million people in the US.

Unlike other forms of arthritis, AS usually affects young adults; symptoms tend to start between 20 and 30 years of age.

Experts once thought AS affected more men than women by a ratio of 3:1. New research suggests it may be just as common in women as men.

Did you know?
AS can be genetic. You might want to find out if there is AS in your family history.

Yes, AS can be a real pain in the back, but that might not be all. There are other signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Learn More
AS is not from
an injury
The pain AS causes isn’t from an old sports injury or the kind you get lifting something heavy. That’s mechanical back pain. AS pain is from inflammation in the spinal joints. AS is a type of inflammatory back pain.

What’s the difference?