Seeing your GP

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First signs of ankylosing spondylitis can be difficult to identify. The first step is to see a GP.

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Dr. Samuel Whittle
Rheumatologist

So if people are experiencing any of these types of inflammatory-type back pain symptoms, it’s really important that they go see their GP to get this checked out because making the distinction between inflammatory back pain that we see in ankylosing spondylitis and so-called mechanical back pain that’s all the other types of back pain can be difficult. But it’s a really important distinction to make because mechanical back pain usually gets better without specific treatment but ankylosing spondylitis requires further investigation and treatment.

Dr. Irwin Lim
Rheumatologist

If you have chronic back pain that has proved to be resistant to treatment so far, or if you keep having recurrent episodes of pain, which your health practitioners have found difficult to explain, it is worth going to your general practitioner to talk about ankylosing spondylitis.

Dr. Marina Kang
General Practitioner

Ankylosing spondylitis in a male patient especially, males tend to dismiss a lot of their symptoms. So stiffness early in the morning when they get up out of bed is something that a patient needs to come to talk to their general practitioner about; someone that they can explain some of these symptoms that they may put off as nothing important. But again, stiffness and discomfort in the mornings is unusual for someone who is a young male so we need to get patients to come in and tell us about their symptoms.

Assoc. Professor Peter Youssef
Rheumatologist

The diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis means different things for different people. In some patients, the main problem is pain and stiffness in their spine. In other patients, they have restrictive spinal movement and may even have damage to other joints such as the hips. Patients with ankylosing spondylitis should be assessed and followed regularly, particularly to avoid loss of movement in their joints or joint damage.

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