Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) is a chronic form of arthritis that causes significant inflammatory low-back and/or buttock pain persisting more than three months.
Unlike back pain caused by sports injuries or accidents, axSpA is an inflammatory condition and is generally chronic. People with axSpA can experience periods of painful episodes called “flares”, followed by temporary relief.
The RELIEF Initiative
Spondyloarthritis (SpA) refers to a group of heterogeneous conditions that share common pathologic and clinical manifestations.
Axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) has a broad phenotype that includes:
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), also known as radiographic axSpA, which is characterized by sacroiliac joint and spinal damage that may range from mild erosive disease to new bone formation and joint fusion; and
- Non-radiographic spectrum of disease (nr-axSpA), which occurs in those individuals who do not show any changes in the sacroiliac joints or the vertebrae on X-ray and may represent either early or mild forms of disease with the potential to progress into AS.
Other subgroups of SpA are largely characterized by peripheral joint involvement, eg, psoriatic arthritis (PsA), arthritis related to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and reactive arthritis. It is this diversity in clinical phenotype that has led to a divide between axial versus peripheral SpA. Clinical experience indicates that individuals with predominantly axial disease may develop peripheral joint involvement and vice versa, ie, individuals with typical peripheral SpA can develop axial involvement in an estimated 40% of cases.
Spinal pain—almost always in the lower back—is usually the first and most common symptom of axSpA. However, individuals with axSpA may also have pain, stiffness, and limited mobility outside of the spine in areas such as the hips, knees, and heels.
Our RELIEF program is an online tool aimed at providing clinicians and patients with up-to-date information on the presentation, prognosis, pathophysiology, and treatment strategies for axSpA, leading to a better control of disease progression on a path to disease remission and greater improvements in patients’ quality of life. Our goal is to provide information that empowers clinicians and patients to speak openly about treatment decisions and improve the standard of care for patients with axSpA.
Thank you for visiting our website. Please explore the Clinician Toolkit and Patient Toolkit links for cutting-edge information on several facets of axSpA management.