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Not to be confused with spondylosis.

Spondylitis is an inflammation of a vertebra. Any disorder of the spinal column may be called spondylopathy, also.

Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease involving the spine and sacroiliac joints.

What is spondylitis?

Spondylitis (pronounced spon-d-lie-tiss) is the name given to a group of chronic or long lasting diseases also called Spondyloarthritis (spon-dyl-oh-arthritis) or Spondyloarthropathy (spon-d-low-are-throp-ah-thee). These diseases are forms of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affect the spine, although other joints and organs can become involved. The group of diseases in the spondylitis family includes[1]:

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) - Ankylosing spondylitis is the primary disease in the spondylitis family of diseases and is a form of chronic arthritis that primarily affects the spine, although other joints can become involved. Occurring primarily in young adults, (age of onset normally before age 35), AS causes inflammation of the spinal joints (vertebrae) that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort[2].

Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy (USpA) - Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy (USpA) is a term used to describe symptoms and signs of spondylitis in someone who does not meet the criteria for a definitive diagnosis of AS or related disease. Over time, some people with USpA will develop a well-defined form of spondylitis such as ankylosing spondylitis[3].

Juvenile Spondyloarthropathy (JSpA) - Juvenile-onset spondyloarthritis (JSpA), also known as Juvenile Spondyloarthropathy, is the medical term for a group of childhood rheumatic diseases, which cause arthritis before the age of 16 and may span through adult life. JSpA typically causes pain and inflammation in the joints in the lower part of the body, for example, the pelvis, hips, knees and ankles[4].

Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) - In 5-10% of those with psoriasis, arthritis also appears. In most cases, the psoriasis will precede the arthritis, sometimes by many years. When arthritis symptoms occur with psoriasis, it is called psoriatic arthritis (PsA[5]).

Reactive Arthritis (ReA) - Reactive Arthritis (also known as Reiter's Syndrome) is a form of arthritis that can cause inflammation and pain in the joints, the skin, the eyes, the bladder, the genitals and the mucus membranes. Reactive arthritis is thought to occur as a "reaction" to an infection that started elsewhere in the body, generally in the genitourinary or gastrointestinal tract[6].

Enteropathic Arthritis - Enteropathic (en-ter-o-path-ic) arthritis is a form of chronic, inflammatory arthritis associated with the occurrence of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the two best-known types of which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The most common areas affected by enteropathic arthritis are inflammation of the peripheral (limb) joints, as well as the abdominal pain and possibly bloody diarrhea associated with the IBD component of the disease[7].



  1. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [1]
  2. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [2]
  3. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [3]
  4. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [4]
  5. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [5]
  6. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [6]
  7. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [7]
  8. Spondylitis Association of America - Spondylitis FAQ: [8]

See also


The Spondylitis Association of America: Click Here

Ankylosing Spondylitis - Wikipedia

Medline Plus / National Institute of Health: [9]