Your health care provider may prescribe drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain.
Some NSAIDs can be bought over-the-counter (OTC), such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).
Other NSAIDs are prescribed by your provider.
Talk to your provider or pharmacist before using any over-the-counter NSAID.
You may also need stronger medicines to control pain and swelling, such as:
Corticosteroid therapy (such as prednisone) used for short periods of time
A TNF-inhibitor (such as etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, certolizumab or golimumab)
Surgery may be done if pain or joint damage is severe.
Exercises can help improve posture and breathing. Lying flat on your back at night can help you keep a normal posture.
The course of the disease is hard to predict. Most people are able to function unless they have a lot of damage to the hips. Treatment with NSAIDS often reduces the pain and swelling. Treatment with TNF inhibitors appears to slow progression of the spine arthritis.
You have ankylosing spondylitis and develop new symptoms during treatment
Callhoff J, Sieper J, Weiß A, et al. Efficacy of TNFa blockers in patients with ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis: a meta-analysis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014. PMID: 24718959 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24718959.
Sieper J, van der Heijde D, Landewé R, et al. New criteria for inflammatory back pain in patients with chronic back pain: a real patient exercise by experts from the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS). Ann Rheum Dis. 2009; 68:784. PMID: 19147614 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19147614.
Yu D, Lories R, Inman RD. Pathogenesis of ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Gabriel SE, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 74.
Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.