Arthritis Ankylosing Spondylitis Quiz: Could You Have Ankylosing Spondylitis? Distinguishing Between Ankylosing Spondylitis and Common Back Pain By Carol Eustice | Reviewed by Grant Hughes, MD Updated January 23, 2017 Share Pin Email More in Arthritis Ankylosing Spondylitis Basics Symptoms Diagnosis Joint Pain Rheumatoid Arthritis Psoriatic Arthritis Gout Types and Conditions Medications Diet and Exercise Natural Treatments Assistive Devices and Mobility Aids Surgery and Research Coping Frequently Asked Questions View All 1. The onset of pain can be gradual or sudden. How did your back pain start? Started gradually and worsened over time. Started suddenly. 2. Time of day and activity level when back pain worsens can be telling. Which describes your symptom pattern? Back pain is worse in the morning and typically improves with activity. Back pain worsens with activity. 3. Do you have back pain alone or are other joints affected? Only back pain. Back pain along with other joint involvement (e.g., hips, shoulders, neck, sacroiliac). 4. Is your spine stiff with limited mobility or is its range of motion normal? Stiff with limited mobility. Has normal range of motion. 5. Imaging studies can reveal findings associated with inflammation. What did yours reveal? Evidence of inflammation No inflammation 6. Your age when back pain symptoms began can be telling. How old were you? 35 years old or younger Older than 35 7. A gene known as HLA-B27 is associated with ankylosing spondylitis. Your results, if tested? Positive for HLA-B27 Negative for HLA-B27 Don't know/Not tested 8. Did you sustain an injury prior to the onset of your back pain or engage in excessively strenuous activity? Yes, an injury occurred. There was no injury or strenuous activity associated with my back pain. I did engage in strenuous activity around that time. 9. If you have been treated with an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), did you have a beneficial response? Yes, it was very effective. Response was not significant. Have not used an NSAID. 10. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate and CRP tests are associated with non-specific inflammation. Is yours elevated? Have an elevated sedrate and/or CRP Normal range for sedrate and CRP (both) Don't know/Not tested 11. Have you experienced chest pain, rib pain, heel pain, or systemic involvement (i.e., organs)? Yes No, my problems are limited to my back. 12. Do you have a family history of ankylosing spondylitis or another of the spondyloarthropathies? Yes No Quiz: Could You Have Ankylosing Spondylitis? You got: Consistent With Ankylosing Spondylitis Hero Images/Getty Images Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory type of arthritis which belongs to a group of conditions known as spondyloarthropathies. Other spondyloarthropathies include psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, as well as inflammatory bowel diseases. Ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the back and the neck region. It can involve other joints, too, including the hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders. There can also be systemic effects. While the exact cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown, there does seem to be some genetics involved since 90 percent of those with the disease are positive for HLA-B27. It is important to distinguish ankylosing spondylitis from common back pain because treatment approaches can be very different. Moreover, in severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis, the spine can become rigid and can actually fuse. THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment. Share Your Results Share Pin Tweet Quiz: Could You Have Ankylosing Spondylitis? You got: Consistent With Common Back Pain htu / Getty Images Common back pain typically comes on suddenly and often resolves in six weeks or less. It may also become a chronic problem, depending on the cause. Men and women are equally affected. It is most common in people who are 30 to 50 years old and is often associated with job disability. Back pain can be caused by injury, osteoarthritis, herniated discs, muscle strain or aches, osteoporosis, and skeletal abnormalities. Risk factors for back pain include age, lack of exercise, overweight, as well as improper body mechanics and improper lifting. It is important to distinguish between common back pain and other conditions which require completely different treatment, such as ankylosing spondylitis. The distinction will be based on imaging studies, blood tests, your medical history, onset of symptoms, and a physical examination. Primarily, common back pain is associated with a mechanical cause while ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease. Read more on back pain. THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment. Share Your Results Share Pin Tweet Up Next Up Next Article Difficulties Around Diagnosing Ankylosing Spondylitis Up Next Article How Is Ankylosing Spondylitis Treated? Up Next Article The Role of HLA Genes in Ankylosing Spondylitis, RA, and Lyme Disease Up Next Article Could Ankylosing Spondylitis Cause Jaw Pain?