What is Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Can I Collect Social Security Disability for It?

Classified as an immune system disorder, or a disorder in which there are defects in a person’s immune system, by the Social Security Administration, ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis, which mainly targets the spine. However, AS can target and affect other joints – for example, the joints linking the spine to the pelvis. Ankylosing spondylitis is the inflammation of the spine and often produces severe, long-term pain. In extreme cases, the inflammation causes bones to form improperly on the spine, the spine to become locked in an “immobile position,” and an individual to have a forwardly curved posture.

In addition, AS generally begins between the ages seventeen and 45, but it can begin before individuals reach age seventeen or after they reach age 45. People with AS tend to be men; nevertheless, there are women with AS. Moreover, people likely have AS if

  • They test positive for the genetic marker or markers associated with AS
  • There is a history of AS in their family
  • The frequently experience stomach infections

If you are diagnosed with this form of arthritis, you may be eligible to collect Social Security Disability benefits.

What are the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis?

The exact symptoms of AS differ among individuals and between men and women. However, generally speaking, the initial symptoms include recurring, but gradual lower back and rear pain and stiffness in the course of weeks or months. In the beginning, people with AS might feel mild pain and stiffness on one or alternating sides of their body and often feel worse in the morning and at night. Early symptoms of AS also include a minor fever, appetite loss, and overall discomfort.

In addition, the pain usually becomes long-term, affects both sides of the body, and lasts three months or more. As months or even years pass, the pain and stiffness can sneak their way toward the neck, ribcage, shoulders, hips, etc.

In some cases, the pain begins in the hip, the knee, the elbow, the shoulder, or another outer joint, and this pain generally befalls children with AS more than adults. Many individuals with ankylosing spondylitis often suffer intestine and eye inflammation. Eye inflammation usually involves watery and reddened eyes, blurred vision, and light sensitivity. In addition, extreme symptoms include severe, long-term back pain and spinal immobility.

Can AS be cured?

Currently, a cure for AS does not exist, which is why the SSA includes it on its list of accepted medical conditions. There are some things you could do that could help you ease your symptoms:

  • Exercising carefully to increase good posture and flexibility
  • Participating in physical therapy (PT) to help individuals with AS manage their exercise
  • Practicing good posture
  • Taking prescribed medications
  • Applying heat and/or cold via hot showers, ice packs, etc. to relieve pain, decrease soreness and swelling, and the like

In extreme cases, surgery to replace joints and correct AS-caused deformities is a treatment option, though it is believed to be very risky. Alternative treatments for AS include getting a massage, employing electrical pain stimulators, and “maintaining a healthy body weight and balanced diet.”

Although they have side-effects, such as harming the stomach, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the medicines first prescribed in combatting AS. When NSAIDs prove ineffective, disease modifying anti- rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like Sulfasalazine, Methotrexate, and Corticosteroids are prescribed, but side-effects caused by DMARDs include headaches, mouth ulcers, and nausea.

Battling ankylosing spondylitis can be a challenge; choosing the right Philadelphia Social Security Disability attorney you help you can be easy, when you work with Larry Pitt & Associates. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an experienced Philadelphia SSD lawyer, please call 888.PITT.LAW or contact us to schedule an appointment at any of our office locations serving Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.



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