The prognosis for ankylosing spondylitis is unfavorable. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be treated. It progresses, leading to disability. But these are not all the dangerous consequences of the disease. If the pathology is not identified in a timely manner and measures are not taken to prevent its development, life expectancy may even be reduced.

What is the danger of the disease?

Fortunately, such a dangerous disease as ankylosing spondylitis is rare. 0.2% and 0.5% in the USA adult population is sick, most of the patients are men.

What is the danger of the disease? All parts of the spine are involved in the pathological process, but first of all – the sacro-lumbar. The intervertebral and costal-vertebral joints are affected, due to which the ligamentous apparatus suffers. If the inflammation is not promptly stopped, then the mobility of the spine is impaired, and complete immobilization is possible.

The pain syndrome does not leave the person, the muscles are in a tense state, there is a risk of injury. The development of such pathologies is likely:

  • rachiocampsis;
  • slouch;
  • ankylosis (stiffness of the joints), which leads to restriction of the growth of the chest, as a result of which a person’s height decreases;
  • arthritis of other large articular joints, for example, hip, knee, ankle, elbow.

Ankylosing spondylitis is dangerous because it leads to disability. Due to joint degeneration and curvature of the spine, the anatomy changes. The arms become bent at the elbows, and the legs become at the knees, the head is slightly tilted to the side. In this position, it is problematic to move around, except in a wheelchair.

But the greatest danger of Bechterew’s disease is that the inflammatory process spreads to other joints, internal organs, and systems.


With ankylosing spondylitis, the following complications occur:

  • uveitis, iridocyclitis;
  • inflammatory diseases of the cardiovascular system, for example, pericarditis, aortitis;
  • heart disorders;
  • choking, chest pain;
  • amyloidosis of the kidneys;
  • lung damage;
  • tuberculosis;
  • infringement of nerve endings due to dystrophic processes of the spine;
  • circulatory disorders.

Diseases of the spine lead to changes in the work of internal organs, in general, negatively affect the state of health.

The most unfavorable prognosis if ankylosing spondylitis is diagnosed in a child. Probably a malfunction of the internal organs in the first years after the onset of joint problems.

Prognosis for treatment

There are no medications that would cure a patient of ankylosing spondylitis, but this does not mean that there is no need to be treated. Therapy is supportive. With its help, you can stop the development of pathology and improve the quality of life. If not treated, then in 5-7 years the patient will be bedridden.

To relieve pain, do not get carried away with painkillers. Drugs from the NSAID group with prolonged use lead to gastrointestinal diseases, in particular, to gastritis and ulcers.

In no case should you despair. The patient should set a goal for himself to live a fulfilling life as long as possible. You need to be prepared for what will be difficult, you need to deal with pain.

In the treatment of the disease, the following methods are used:

  • medicines (NSAIDs, drugs that suppress immunity, steroids);
  • physiotherapy (ultrasound, electrophoresis);
  • Exercise therapy;
  • massage.

Lifetime treatment. Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by periods of exacerbation and remission. However, during relief, do not neglect the recommendations of doctors.

Forecast for life

The prognosis for life with ankylosing spondylitis is only partially favorable. The patient lives as long as with other diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The life expectancy with ankylosing spondylitis can only be affected by the extra-articular complications that have arisen, so it is important to prevent them.

As for the patient’s well-being, it worsens significantly. The quality of life decreases, the patient is forced to constantly experience fatigue, muscle weakness, pain in different parts of the spine.

Without medication, exercise therapy and massage for 7-10 years, a person can become disabled.

In most cases, disability with ankylosing spondylitis is inevitable. After 20-40 years, more than 20% of patients sit in a wheelchair.

The prognosis for life with ankylosing spondylitis in women is similar to that in men. The disease does not interfere with pregnancy and childbirth. However, it is rather difficult to predict the course of the disease. The condition can both worsen and improve. 

How to increase lifespan?

In order not to worsen the prognosis and the disease did not in any way affect life expectancy, it is worth following these recommendations:

  • to be regularly observed by doctors, at the slightest deterioration in health, go to the hospital;
  • do morning exercises daily;
  • do not stay in one position for a long time, change the position every 1 hour, do a 10-minute warm-up;
  • sitting at the table, maintain correct posture, keep your head straight, and take your shoulders back much, do not slouch;
  • for sleep, purchase an orthopedic mattress, the surface should be flat and not too soft, it is better to sleep without a pillow;
  • do not lift more than 3 kg;
  • sign up for a swim in the pool.

The patient is contraindicated for running, static loads on the spine and any contact sports, it is important to avoid injuries and falls.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a rather insidious and serious disease. At the initial stage, the prognosis is good, but the pathology is rarely diagnosed, since the only symptom for a long time remains back pain, which is often not taken into account.

List of sources:

  • Feldtkeller E. Ankylosing spondylitis. Patient guide. Translated from German. Deutsche Vereinigung Morbus Bechterew eV – 2002.
  • Volnukhin E. V., Galushko E. A., Bochkova A. G. et al. Clinical diversity of ankylosing spondylitis in the real practice of a rheumatologist in Russia (part 1). Scientific and practical rheumatology, 2012.


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