Learn more about ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis

No one wants to miss time doing what they love. Unfortunately 0.1% – 0.2% of the population can suffer from ankylosing spondylitis which can slow you down. 

Suffering chronic lower back pain? Our osteopaths will determine the cause, provide you with a diagnosis and give you a plan to get you back playing again as soon as possible. 

What is ankylosing spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease that primarily affects the sacroiliac joint and spine. It is a condition that affects 0.1-0.2% of the population that causes stiffness in the spine with the inflammation leading to new bone growth. In severe cases this can lead to the formation of a “bamboo spine”. Ankylosing spondylitis can occasionally cause other joints in the body to be affected. These normally being the hips, knees and shoulders.

Some common ligament injuries are ankle sprains, knee MCL/ACL or PCL injuries. Most poeple will experience these injuries with pain on touch and movement of the joint, swelling, bruising and a lack of joint range is possible.

The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can differ person to person, however the most common are the following:

  • Pain arising in the sacroiliac joint and lower back
  • Pain can progress to involve the entire spine (Baaj. A.A. et al, 2010)
  • Morning stiffness lasting greater than 30 minutes
  • Symptoms worsening with periods of inactivity and being relieved by activity (Andersson B.J. G. et al, 1989)
  • Occasionally other joints in the body can be involved, the most common being the hips knees and shoulders.
  • In 25% of cases iridocyclitis or conjunctivitis can occur (Andersson B.J. G. et al, 1989)

What causes ankylosing spondylitis?

Currently we do not know what causes ankylosing spondylitis however a strong genetic link has been found (Alvarez I et al, 2000). In addition, 90-95% of people suffering from ankylosing spondylitis have the antigen HLA-B27, however 6-9% of the normal population can also carry this antigen (Andersson B.J. G. et al, 1989).


Possible causes

What causes your pain?

These are some of the other specific conditions that are similar to ankylosing spondylitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis


Ankylosing Spondylitis at The Osteo Collective

How we help.


Your practitioner will start by asking you questions about your injury, how, when and why. This will be followed by a physical assessment testing the range of motion of your region of pain, palpating the surrounding muscles and performing some special tests. We will discuss with you our diagnosis and develop a plan with you to help you and your pain. 


Treatment with our osteopaths is a hands-on approach. After determining where, why and how you have developed your pain we will use a combination of soft tissue techniques, stretching, mobilisation and other joint related techniques. We also consider what you do day to day and develop a home treatment plan for you to implement. 

Prevention & management

No one wants regular, recurring nagging chronic pain. Our exercise physiologist is the person to help with prevention and management. Improving your strength, function and flexibility, along with lifestyle changes will help prevent any future re-aggravations. Pilates, yoga, aerobic and strength based exercises will be utilised to help manage your ankylosing spondylitis.

Ask us anything

Free call with an osteopath.

Which service is best for me? Can you help with chronic low back pain? Do you treat sports injuries? People ask us all kinds of questions before visiting The Osteo Collective. Do you have a question for us? Get in touch. 

Where's that from?


Baaj. A.A. et al., Handbook of spine surgery, Thieme, 2010: 180-182.

Andersson B.J. G. et al., Lumbar spine syndromes, evaluation and treatment, Springer-Verlag Wien New York, 1989: 180-181.

Mandl P. et al., EULAR recommendations for the use of imaging in the diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis in clinical practice, Ann Rheum Dis, 2015 

Alvarez I, López de Castro JA. HLA-B27 and immunogenetics of spondyloarthropathies. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2000;12(4):248-253

Giles LGF. et al., The clinical anatomy and management of back pain series, Volume 2 Clincal Anatomy and Management of Thoracic Spine Pain, Butterworth Heinemann, 2000: 61-66.

Dundar U, Solak O, Toktas H, Demirdal US, Subasi V, Kavuncu V, Evcik D. Effect of aquatic exercise on ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology international. 2014 Nov 1;34(11):1505-11.

Altan L, Korkmaz N, Dizdar M, Yurtkuran M. Effect of Pilates training on people with ankylosing spondylitis. Rheumatology international. 2012 Jul 1;32(7):2093-9.

Arthritis Australia.