DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spine in ankylosing spondylitis. Coloured X-ray of a section through the thoracic spine of a 74-year-old male patient with ankylosing spondylitis, showing severe degeneration of the lower thoracic spine. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints between the spinal vertebrae in the back. The disorder usually begins with pain and stiffness in the lower back. As it progresses the pain and stiffness spread up the spine, causing increasing immobility. In severe cases curvature of the spine may occur and the spine may even become completely rigid due to fusion of the vertebrae. The cause is unknown. Treatment includes analgesic drugs and regular exercise.
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