The goal of treatment is to :

  • minimise pain
  • maintain movement of the joints
  • minimise disability and deformity

The following treatment modalities may be employed:

  • Physiotherapy and exercise: The focus should be on improving the posture, increasing the movement of joints and maintaining chest expansion.
    • Strengthening exercises help to strengthen the neck and back muscles leading to improved posture.
    • Breathing exercises help in maintaining chest expansion.
  • Medication: Pain and stiffness can be controlled by the use of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Indomethacin is particularly effective for this purpose. However, side-effects of this drug are higher. Recently, it has been shown that sulfasalazine could also be effective in treatment of ankylosing spondylitis. Occasionally, intra-articular injection of steroids may be used to control the symptoms.
  • Surgery: Hip replacement surgery may be done in severe cases.