Psoriatic spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. While there are other types of spondylitis, psoriatic versions are related to both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
If you have an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis, and are experiencing frequent lower back or neck pain, talk with your doctor about possible tests for spondylitis.
Spondylitis (also called spondyloarthritis) refers to a group of inflammatory conditions that affect the spine. The most common type is ankylosing spondylitis, but there are other forms that have links to other inflammatory diseases, such as psoriasis.
According to the Spondylitis Association of America, 20 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) will develop psoriatic spondylitis. This means that you have PsA with spinal involvement.
If you currently have psoriasis or PsA, and are experiencing chronic back pain, see your doctor for a diagnosis. Detecting this spinal disease early can reduce the risk of potentially debilitating complications.
Symptoms of Psoriatic Spondylitis are –
Psoriatic spondylitis causes symptoms that are similar to other forms of arthritis that affect the spine and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis, such as ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis.
Symptoms of psoriatic spondylitis include:
- back pain
- stiffness in the back or neck that improves when moving around
- stiffness made worse by periods of staying still, such as sleep
- trouble bending or moving the back
These symptoms can cause extreme pain and some people experience difficulty in their daily lives. Left untreated, the inflammation can cause long-term damage to the spine and joints.
Medical treatments aim to keep inflammation under control and prevent long-term joint problems and damage. Medication can also reduce a person’s risk of heart disease that can occur due to inflammation.
The symptoms of psoriatic spondylitis may seem to come and go. When symptoms get worse, this is known as a flare. The location of pain and swelling may also change over time.
Doctors are still unsure why some people develop psoriatic disease, but others do not.
Certain infections, such as strep throat, may trigger the overactive immune response that causes psoriatic spondylitis. However, psoriatic spondylitis is not contagious.
The condition tends to run in families.
Diagnosing Psoriatic Spondylitis :
At present there are no definitive guidelines for diagnosing psoriatic arthritis; a doctor will make a diagnosis based on symptoms and medical history, and by ruling out other conditions. Usually, a blood test will be carried out to test for rheumatoid factor (the antibody found in rheumatoid arthritis). This is usually negative in people with psoriatic arthritis, although a positive result can be due to causes other than rheumatoid arthritis. A doctor may also use X Rays, ultrasounds or other scans, such as an MRI to look at the patient’s joints. These scans often show inflammation or areas of new bone growth with poorly-defined edges in people with psoriatic arthritis.
Traditionally, the Moll and Wright (1973) criteria have been used to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. The criteria are: an inflammatory arthritis, the presence of psoriasis, and a blood test negative for rheumatoid factor. Although this criteria set is still used, it does have limitations, for example, psoriatic arthritis can occur without there being current psoriasis on the skin.