Spondyloarthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnostic Treatment and Life Perspective


Spondyloarthritis is the term used for a group of inflammatory diseases that cause joint inflammation or arthritis. It is believed that most inflammatory diseases are hereditary. So far, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the disease can be prevented.

Spondyloarthritis can be classified as axial or peripheral. The axial shape mainly affects the joints and the pelvic column. The peripheral shape affects the extremities.

The condition can also cause inflammation in the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, and areas where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones.

The most common type of spondyloarthritis is ankylosing spondylitis. This type mainly affects the joints of the spine. It can also affect other large joints in the body.

Other types of spondyloarthritis are:

  • Reactive arthritis
  • Artritis psoriásica.
  • Enteropathic arthritis
  • Juvenile arthritis related to enthesitis.
  • Undifferentiated spondylarthritis.


The main symptoms of spondyloarthritis are pain, stiffness and swelling. There can also be bone damage. Where you feel symptoms in the body depends on the type of spondyloarthritis you have.

The pain often begins in the buttocks and the lower back may extend to the chest and neck. Tendons and ligaments may also be involved. In rare cases, it will have an impact on the heart and lungs.

  • Enteropathic arthritis: May cause pain in the spine, arms and joints of the legs. It can also cause bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain due to inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Juvenile arthritis: Often causes pain in the pelvis, hips, ankles and knees. The condition can also cause fatigue.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: It can affect the spine, it can also cause pain in the neck.
  • Reactive arthritis: It can cause inflammation in the urinary tract, joints and eyes. It can also lead to inflammation of the spinal joints.
  • Undifferentiated arthritis: Causes pain in the lower back, buttocks and heels.


The exact cause of spondyloarthritis is not clear, although genetics plays an important role. The main gene involved in all types of spondyloarthritis is HLA-B27.

Although the HLA-B27 gene does not cause the disease, it may increase the risk of developing it. Research continues to determine how other genes can cause spondyloarthritis.

Some research suggests a link between an imbalance of its microbiome and the development of spondyloarthritis or other inflammatory diseases.

More research is needed to understand the relationship between intestinal bacteria and systemic inflammation.

Reactive arthritis is the only type of spondyloarthritis that is known to be triggered by a bacterial infection. It usually results after a Chlamydia infection or foodborne infection.

Who is at risk for spondyloarthritis?

It is not always clear why someone suffers from spondyloarthritis, your risk for the condition may be higher if you:

  • You have a family member with spondyloarthritis.
  • They are of Alaskan descent, Siberian Eskimo or Scandinavian Lapps.
  • Positive test for the HLA-B27 gene.
  • You have frequent bacterial infections in your intestine.
  • You have another inflammatory condition, such as psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease.


Early diagnosis is important to help control symptoms and reduce the risk of complications or disability. Your doctor may suspect that you have spondyloarthritis based on your symptoms, medical history and a medical examination.

The condition can be confirmed with:

  • X-rays of the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis.
  • Magnetic resonance image.
  • A blood test to detect the HLA-B27 gene.


There is no cure for spondyloarthritis, the treatment focuses on reducing pain, improving or maintaining mobility and reducing the risk of complications.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, regular movement is critical in controlling the discomfort associated with the condition.

Treatment plans are individualized, but most will include:

  • Physical therapy.
  • Low impact exercise.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Antirheumatic medicines.
  • Alphablocking drugs.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat an active bacterial infection present with reactive arthritis. Severe cases of spondyloarthritis may require surgery to treat bone destruction or cartilage damage.

Smoking is a known cause of inflammation in the body. If you smoke, it is important to stop, your doctor can help you find a smoking cessation program that is right for you.

What you eat helps fight spondyloarthritis?

There is no specific diet for spondyloarthritis. Even so, eating healthy is vital to your overall health and to help prevent weight gain.

Excess weight exerts additional pressure on your joints.

Some foods and ingredients can cause inflammation and should be limited. These include:

  • Sugars
  • Fried food.
  • Saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Monosodium glutamate.
  • Aspartame
  • Alcohol.

To help fight inflammation in your body, strive to eat a diet rich in:

  • A colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole grains
  • Fiber.
  • Lean protein
  • Fatty fish
  • Spondyloarthritis can cause thinning of the bones and osteoporosis, so it is important to get enough calcium in your diet as well. The National Society of Ankylosing Spondylitis recommends obtaining 700 milligrams of calcium per day.

Dairy products are a good source of calcium. Research indicates that dairy products can cause inflammation in people allergic to lactose.

If you are sensitive to lactose, opt for sources of calcium based on plants, such as:

  • Green leaf vegetables.
  • Vegetables.
  • Dried figs.
  • You can also get calcium from fortified orange juice. Spinach is high in calcium, but it is also high in oxalates. Oxalates bind to calcium and prevent its absorption.

Does eliminating gluten help?

Some people claim that eliminating gluten reduces their symptoms of spondyloarthritis, although it is irrefutable that gluten is avoided if you have celiac disease, sensitivity to gluten in people without celiac disease is controversial.

In some cases, people may think that gluten makes them feel bad after eating, when the culprit is really wheat or another allergen.

If you feel that gluten worsens your symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting tested for celiac disease and try a gluten-free diet.

What is the perspective?

Spondyloarthritis is a progressive disease. Its course is difficult to predict, yet the prospects for most people are good if they take measures to control their symptoms and stay as healthy as possible.

Regular exercise and physical therapy greatly help mobility and reduce stiffness and pain. Over-the-counter and prescription medications to reduce inflammation are also usually beneficial.

Like many other chronic conditions, the symptoms of spondyloarthritis can appear and disappear.

The symptoms may also vary from one day to the next. Complications, such as heart problems and lung scars due to long-term inflammation are rare.

Spondyloarthritis is serious, but with the right coping strategies and a consistent treatment plan, most people with the condition live full lives.