These inflammatory joint changes ultimately lead to fusion of the vertebral bodies, that is, ankylosis or stiffening of the spine.
Unfortunately, no treatment stops the progression of the disease. Management of arthritis is aimed toward delaying further deterioration by enforcing good posture, stretching, and, in some people, wearing braces and lightweight support.
The pain and stiffness may be relieved by analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Physical therapy also helps considerably to prevent a stooped posture as the spine begins to fuse. Surgery is rarely indicated to correct or stabilize extreme spine deformities due to AS.
For more information about spine related conditions and treatments, visit the UCLA Spine Center at at spinecenter.ucla.edu.