Injury and ankylosing spondylitis
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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While injury has not been associated with the development of ankylosing spondylitis, it is a complication of having the disease.
Patients with AS are prone to fractures of the lower cervical spine (neck) following minor injuries in unexpected times. The occurrence of traumatic injuries in patients with AS is more than three times as likely compared with the general population. The trauma can be as minor as rapid acceleration and deceleration in an automobile since this leads to hyperextension of the neck.
The presence of neck disease can also make the administration of general anesthesia with intubation problematic.
Two-thirds of the fractures are associated with spinal cord injury with a mortality rate of 40%.
Another problem exists when it comes to differentiating low back injury from AS. Low back injury is generally made better by rest and worse with activity. Patients with AS often are very stiff in the morning and get better with activity.
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