DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ankylosing spondylitis. Coloured X-ray of the spine of a 67 year old male with ankylosing spondylitis. The front of the body is at right. Extra bone (red) has been laid down between the vertebrae (blocks of bone). In places this fusion is complete, giving the appearance of a 'bamboo spine'. This disease is a form of inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine and is most common in men. The joints between the vertebrae become inflamed and then during the healing process extra bone forms between the vertebrae, eventually fusing them. This causes chronic back pain and immobility. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, and in extreme cases, surgery.
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