Study sheds light on chronic lower back pain condition ‘Spondyloarthritis’

November 8th, 2010 - 4:58 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Nov 8 (ANI): According to new research, chronic lower backache may be related to a condition called axial spondyloarthritis.

Spondyloarthritis is the overall name for a family of inflammatory rheumatic diseases that can affect the spine and joints, ligaments and tendons.

These diseases can cause fatigue and pain or stiffness in the back, neck, hands, knees, and ankles as well as inflammation of the eyes, skin, lungs, and heart valves.

Researchers recently set out to determine the prevalence of this rheumatic disease in people being seen by their primary care physicians for chronic lower back pain.

They studied 364 primary care patients of whom 43 percent were male, with an average age of just over 36 years, and who had been experiencing chronic lower back pain symptoms for an average of nine years.

The researchers diagnosed 77 participants (21.5 percent) with axial spondyloarthritis using the ASAS criteria; 52 were diagnosed with an MRI, 28 with X-ray and the presence of one other spondyloarthritis symptom, and 12 were diagnosed with a positive HLAB27 and two other spondyloarthritis symptoms.

Of the participants seeing their primary care physicians for chronic lower back pain, the prevalence of spondyloarthritis was strikingly high. By using the new ASAS criteria, which aids in early diagnosis and treatment of the disease before structural bone lesions are present, three times as many patients were diagnosed as compared to the currently accepted criteria using conventional X-ray alone. Adding HLAB27 increased the likelihood of diagnosis of spondyloarthritis by 68 percent, and using X-rays increased the likelihood by 75 percent.

“The study confirms that there is a direct link between chronic lower back pain and spondyloarthritis,” said Angelique Weel at the Maasstadziekenhuis Rotterdam.

“Such patients diagnosed by primary care physicians could be helped early in their disease by referral to a rheumatologist.” (ANI)

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