Causes and treatment for Spondylitis

Spondylitis is an inflammation caused in the joints of the vertebral column. Cervical Spondylitis is caused in neck and shoulders. Ankylosing Spondylitis is caused at the lower back and it also affects knees, eyes, lungs and heart. The common symptoms or result of spondylitis are stiff neck and back, neck and shoulder pain, back pain, headache, vomiting, blurred vision.

Brain is a complex nervous system that translates all the inputs from various parts of our body to see, hear, react etc. All these inputs are carried to the brain through nerves. Spinal chord is the main thing to take the signals from lower part of the body to the brain. Vertebral column encloses the spinal chord and helps us to stand straight maintaining the normal posture of the body. Prolapsed disc is one of the alarming disorders of this vertebral column where the problem is because of the herniation of the disc between the vertebrae. But there are problems in the vertebral column which is because of the abnormality in the vertebrae itself. Such disorder of the vertebrae is called Spondylitis.


Spondylitis is an inflammation of the vertebral joints or the vertebra. This disease normally causes pain in the neck, shoulder and lower back. It causes stiffness in the cervical or lower back region making difficult to move the neck, shoulders and back.


The vertebral column consists of 26 individual bones and these bones are called as the vertebrae. This column in our body supports the head and encloses the spinal chord. Each region of the column has specific number of bones (vertebrae).

Vertebral Column
Vertebral Column

• 7 Cervical vertebrae
• 12 Thoracic vertebrae
• 5 Lumbar vertebrae
• 5 Sacral vertebrae fused together to form single bone, Sacrum
• 4 Coccygeal vertebrae fused together to form single bone, Coccyx

Any inflammation in these vertebrae causes spondylitis.

Types of Spondylitis

Types can be classified based on the region of disease in the vertebral column.

Cervical Spondylitis
Lumbar Spondylitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis

Cervical Spondylitis

Cervical Spondylitis is caused in the cervical region of the vertebral column. It is due to any abnormal growth of bone in the vertebral column in the cervical region, or degeneration which can reduce the cushion between the vertebrae causing pressure in the nerves from the spinal chord. If this is not diagnosed and treated, it may lead to permanent damage to the spinal chord.

Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical Spondylosis

Symptoms of Cervical Spondylitis

Degeneration will not show any symptom until it compresses the cervical nerve.

• Neck pain
• Shoulder pain radiated from the neck pain
• Neck Stiffness, will not be able to move the neck freely
• Giddiness or Vertigo
• Headache
• Numbness or lack of sensation in shoulders and arms

Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis

• Exercise shall be practiced to strengthen the neck muscles
• Cervical Collar can be used to restrict the movement of neck to prevent from causing pain

Lumbar Spondylitis

Lumbar Spondylitis is caused due to the abnormal growth of bone in lumbar region of the vertebral column. There are no specific symptoms found for Lumbar Spondylitis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a kind of arthritis of spine. It normally affects the spine, but it also involves the sacroiliac joints, the pelvis, the joints in the hip, shoulders and knees. The chronic inflammation of the spine makes the spine rigid without movements. The flexibility of the spine will get reduced and at a point of time it will be completely rigid with no flexibility. This may even affect eyes, kidney, lungs and heart.

The stiffness is caused by abnormal growth of bones between the vertebrae which fuses the gap between each vertebra making it to feel like a single bone with no flexibility. The major effect of this disease is it will affect other areas of the body too.

Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing Spondylitis

Because of the stiffness caused, the normal curvature of the spinal column will be lost and the affected person will not be able to stand straight. The back will be bent forward. This in turn will cause difficulty in breathing and can cause problems for heart also.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Posture
Ankylosing Spondylitis Posture

Ankylosing Spondylitis is hereditary. A genetic marker called HLA-B27 is responsible for the genetic cause of this disease. Men are more affected by this disease than women and the age group shall be between 20 and 40. It is also considered as one of the rheumatic disease – disease involving muscles and joints.

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

• Chronic pain and stiffness of Lower back
• Pain at the back of the thigh
• Inflammation of eyes, blurred vision
• Fatigue, giddiness and vomiting
• Swelling and pain in knees

Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis

No specific treatment or cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Medication, some physical exercise and specific yoga shall be practiced to reduce the pain and other symptoms caused.

Medication, physical exercise and yoga should be prescribed, practiced and trained by respective specialists and therapists.

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Author: Venkiteswaran26 Feb 2014 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 8

A good article on a very common health issue.This scribe also had suffered from cervical spondylitis. The picture given in this article is quite simple and clear. In fact I knew better now than what I could know from the x-ray results shown to me.

People who are raveling by two wheelers, in rickety buses on potholed roads, who have to travel hanging or holding on to the vertical and horizontal supports in crowded buses and trains- all these have more chances of suffering from spondylitis.

Today's lifestyle demanding more time sitting in front of a computer or laptop wthw rong postures and without break can cause pondylitis,as a long term effect.

The first need when there is pain and inflammation is to give rest to the affected part anf avoid deliberate or accidental strain. Taking pain relieving medicines and applying pain relieving and anti-infalammatory external applications can help subside the pain.

Though cervical collar can prevent jerks and resultant pain, wrong size collars may aggravate the problem and cause sweating if the same is tight. Hence before selecting a cervical collar by oneself, the treating doctor may be consulted for the proper collar.

Regular cautious exercises as taught by the qualified person, proper rest and sleep, protecting the affected and vulnerable parts from exposure to extreme heat or cold can help a lot in spondilitis.

Compared to cervical spondilitis, the other two ones are somewhat less, but causing more inconvenience and nuisance and pain. They need a better handling due to the load factor acting to those vertebrae.

Author: Rani13 Mar 2014 Member Level: Gold   Points : 5

Home remedy and physiotherapy for spondylitis:
For cervical spondylitis:
1. Usage of soft pillow is advised.
2. Neck strain should be avoided.
3. Cervical exercises like isometric neck exercise, shoulder bracing exercise, shoulder shrugging exercise should be followed daily.
4. Interferential therapy and Intermittent cervical traction can be given by the Physiotherapist to reduce the pain.

For lumbar spondilitis:
1. Weight lifting should be avoided.
2. Patients should avoid bending the back to take objects from ground, instead they can take it by bending the knee.
3. Spinal strengthening exercises should be performed daily.
4. Hot water fomentation at home is also advised.
5. Intermittent pelvic traction reduces pain to some extent.
6. Apart from all taking rest is the best treatment.

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