Juvenile ankylosing spondylitis (JAS) is a type of arthritis in children affecting the spine and the muscles and tendons attached to it. Arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition. Symptoms of JAS are most often felt in the lower back causing pain and stiffness.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Causes & Symptoms
The cause of JAS is usually unknown, although genetic factors and environmental triggers are thought to contribute to it and other forms of arthritis. There is a specific group of genes known as HLA antigens, including B27, which is a marker for JAS. Alert your pediatric rheumatologist if you are aware that this gene runs in your family.
A variety of symptoms are associated with JAS, such as:
- Pain or stiffness in the back
- Joint pain in the legs or hips
- Stooped or poor posture
- Difficulty taking deep breaths if the joints along the upper ribs and spine are affected
- Weight loss or decreased appetite
- Irritation or inflammation of the eyes
Diagnosis of JAS can come from a combination of tests, including:
- Blood tests checking for the presence of the B27 gene
- Blood tests to detect inflammation throughout the body
- X-rays to capture images of the spine and other affected bones and joints
Ankylosing Spondylitis Treatment in Austin & Cedar Park, TX
Treatments for JAS aim to reduce back pain and stiffness while preventing any permanent damage, such as a stooped or irregular posture.
It is important for children with JAS, or any form of arthritis, to maintain an active lifestyle in order to keep muscle, bones, and joints flexible.
Forms of treatment might include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids
- Physical therapy to improve spine strength and posture
- Regular exercise