Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Related Diseases

A common treatment regimen for the various forms of spondyloarthritis (ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, juvenile spondyloarthritis, and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis) involves medication, exercise, physical therapy, good posture practices, and other options such as applying heat/cold to help relax muscles and reduce joint pain. In severe cases, posture correcting surgery may also be an option.

Depending on the type of spondyloarthritis, there may be some variation in treatment. For example, in psoriatic arthritis, both the skin component and joint component must be treated. In enteropathic arthritis (spondylitis/arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease), medications may need to be adjusted so the gastrointestinal component of the disease is also treated and not exacerbated.

In September of 2015 the first ever treatment guidelines for U.S. physicians in ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis were released by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and include “specific, actionable recommendations that clinicians could readily apply in their practices” to better serve the patient.

The guidelines were developed in partnership with the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) and the Spondyloarthritis Research & Treatment Network (SPARTAN). This huge accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donations of our members and donors, as SAA provided the foundation funding for this undertaking, and has been closely involved in the project.

For more information visit the American College of Rheumatology / Spondylitis Association of America / Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network 2015 Recommendations for the Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Non-Radiographic Axial Spondyloarthritis

Read on the ACR website

SAA receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from individuals to create and maintain the programs and services aimed at improving the futures of the 2.7 million Americans affected by spondylitis and its family of related diseases.


Applying heat to stiff joints and tight muscles can help reduce pain and soreness. Applying cold to inflamed areas can help reduce swelling and muscle inflammation. Hot baths and showers can also help provide relief.


In severe cases of spondyloarthritis, surgery can be an option, especially hip joint replacement. Surgical correction is also possible for those with severe kyphosis (severe downward curvature) of the spine, particularly in the neck, although this procedure is considered risky.

Related Resources

Spondylitis Plus

New Spondyloarthritis Treatment Guidelines

Posted December 2015

In September of this year the American College of Rheumatology released the first ever recommendations for physicians in the US for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis.  

Read more…

Troubleshooting Spondylitis: Complications and Comorbidities

Posted February 2016

Watch as noted rheumatologist Lianne Gensler, MD explains possible complications and comorbidities associated with spondylitis, including common issues—such as fatigue, uveitis, and osteoporosis—as well as rare complications.

Read more…

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