Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) symptoms.

Ankylosing spondylitis affects people differently.

Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms can range in severity from mild to severe, and they can vary from person to person. Symptoms often present differently in men and women, which can cause delays in diagnosis. Some men report feeling symptoms first in their lower back, while some women report feeling symptoms first in their neck. It's important to recognize the symptoms and to get a proper diagnosis and treatment of AS.

Symptoms can include:

  • Gradual progression of lower back pain before age 35
  • Spine stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and at night
  • Pain and stiffness that get worse with inactivity and better with physical activity
  • Pain and stiffness in alternating sides of the body—starting in the lower back and buttocks
  • Symptoms lasting longer than 3 months
Quick poll.

Did you know that AS can affect men and women differently?

Did you know that AS can affect men and women differently?

The symptoms of AS can present differently in men and women. Some men report feeling symptoms first in their lower backs, while some women report feeling symptoms first in their neck. It’s important to talk to a rheumatologist about your symptoms so you can work together on a treatment plan that is right for you.

Progressive symptoms of AS.

Over time, symptoms can worsen and affect other parts of your body, including:

Chart of a male standing with body parts name in plum.

As the disease progresses, symptoms can become persistent and affect both sides of the body. For some patients, AS can eventually lead to a fusion of spinal joints. In the more severe cases, patients can have a forward-stooped position. If you think you or someone you know may have AS, it's important to see a rheumatologist for a proper diagnosis.



How do rheumatologists diagnose AS?

To get a proper diagnosis, it’s important to speak to a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and managing conditions like AS, called a rheumatologist.

Rheumatologists use a variety of measures and tools to diagnose AS, such as:

  • X-rays
  • Review of symptoms
  • Physical exam and medical history

    • Gradual progression of lower back pain before age 35
    • Back pain and stiffness that get worse with inactivity, especially in the morning
    • Back pain and stiffness that get better with physical activity
    • Symptoms lasting longer than 3 months
  • Blood tests
  • Tests to rule out other causes of back pain
A female rheumatologist in a white coat.

Helpful Link


Not reaching your treatment goals?


A once-daily pill for people with active AS who have already tried a TNF blocker like HUMIRA could help.