Chrome 2001
.
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
.
. .

   Advertisement
Carepass Ad Carepass Ad .
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
InteliHealth
Ask the Doc
4464
Ask the Doc
Ask The Expert
Harvard Medical School
Image of a cadeusus
. .
General Medical Questions
.
Question : What is the latest treatment for ankylosing spondylitis? Would using lasers to remove the osteophytes be a possible way of restoring flexibility to the spine?
.
.
.
The Trusted Source
.
.
Howard LeWine, M.D.

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. is associate physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. He has been a practicing rheumatologist for over 20 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is an active teacher in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, serving as the Robinson Firm Chief. He is also a teacher in the Rheumatology Fellowship Program.

.
.
July 03, 2013
.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a joint disease. There is inflammation of the sacroiliac joints, and joints in the spine (spondylitis) and the arms and/or legs. Typically, the disease begins in early adulthood. It is more common in young men than women.

The inflammation affects the sacroiliac joints first. Morning stiffness in the lower back is typical. Over time there may be stiffness that involves the entire spine. Eventually, the mobility of the lower back is severely limited. X-rays may show that bone has grown between the spinal bones (also called ankylosis, or fusion), making spine motion nearly impossible.  

Some traditional treatments include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen)
  • Medicine that alters the body’s immune and inflammation systems (including methotrexate and sulfasalazine).  These drugs are most helpful for arthritis in the joints of the arms or legs (such as wrist or ankle) rather than spinal joint inflammation.

 

 

Newer drugs approved for treatment include adalimumab, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab. They can be highly effective. And they may even prevent or slow the loss of spine flexibility.

Osteophytes are bony outgrowths typical of osteoarthritis, not ankylosing spondylitis. So treatment directed toward osteophytes would not be expected to be helpful in this disease.

I am not aware of any role for laser treatment. Or of any studies that have carefully evaluated its ability to improve flexibility in this condition. A review of the medical literature reveals almost no mention of this approach for ankylosing spondylitis.

Studies involving a small number of patients in the mid-1980s (published in Russian with summaries in English) found promising results. One study mentioned that “external helium-neon laser therapy of the vertebral column and joints” produced “a certain therapeutic effect.” However, the lack of details or a more recent published experience suggests that this approach doesn’t produce lasting effects. Or laser was not nearly as effective as the newer therapies.

.
.
InteliHealth
.
Ask A Question
.
.
InteliHealth
Do You Have A Question?
.
. . .
.
Ask The Expert Archives
Topics
.
InteliHealth
.
InteliHealth

    Print Printer-friendly format    
   
dmtatd
dmtATD
dmtatd
126747
InteliHealth
1998-05-15
f
InteliHealth
NULL
411, 4464, 4581, 4582, 7991, 7992, 7995, 7996, 7997, 8122, 8438, 8463, 8464, 8465, 8466, 8467, 8468, 8469, 8470, 8471, 8472, 8473, 8474, 8475, 8476, 8477, 8479, 8480, 8481, 8482, 8483, 8484, 8486, 8487, 8488, 8489, 8490, 8760, 14219, 20807, 21346, 21349, 21351, 23926, 23938, 24017, 24025, 24075, 24151, 24510, 24519, 24549, 24869, 24878, 25107, 25518, 25646, 25968, 29367, 29516, 29595, 48666, 48812, 59367,
4581
.
.  
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
.