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Cervical spondylosis(I had it too) is a fancy way of saying you have arthritis in your cervical spine....undifferentiated arthritis at that.

AS, Ankylosing Spondylitis is a specific disorder that most often affects men and one of it's features is massive arthritis of the spine that will eventually, without treatment, fuse the entire spine into one long bone. You can still see older men walking completely bent over because their backs are totally fused. It affects men over women in a ratio of about 75/25%. I will not be surprised if the rheumatologist changes that diagnosis.

But AS and OA share the same kind of arthritis. Arthritis breaks down into 4 kinds...inflammatory, non-inflammatory, infectious and hemmorhagic. The last 2 are self explanatory...infection destroying bone and blood in a joint destroying bone. The difference between inflammatory and non-inflammatory are big. Non-inflammatory is like OA...it causes cartilage to break down, the joint fluid gets acidic, the bone grinds off and then rebuilds as bone spurs and osteophytes...always in the wrong place. It can make the edges of the bone sclerotic...or harder than regular bone and so it wears and other rest of the bone even worse. You can get pseudo-cysts(pockets) above the joint level in the sides of the bone and all sorts of nasty stuff. But it only affects bone. Inflammatory arthritis is different. How it destroys bone can be anything from the synovial lining of the joint becoming inflamed and eating at the bone, to an arthritis that looks on x-rays just like OA. But with inflammatory, you can get inflammation in other places in the body other than bone....eyes, brain, heart, lungs, skin.....just about anywhere. One kind even makes aneurysms.

AS falls into the category of a sero-negative spondyloarthropathy.....a type of inflammatory arthritis that has negative blood work(sero-negative) and affects the sacro-iliac and spine(spondyloarthropathy). AS can also affect your eyes(why it falls into the inflammatory group) and the intestinal tract. Along with AS you have Reactive Arthritis and that affects the spine and pelvis as well as eyes and tendons and it follows one of several infections. Again, far more common in men. The most common of the group in women is Psoriatic Arthritis and it features psoriasis and arthritis. And then there are several smaller groups of the disorder.

So you can see why it's very important to know what you have as if it's really AS, you have to watch your eyes and digestive tract very carefully. It is treated fairly aggressively in order to stop the other complications from happening as the digestive tract problems are potentially fatal.

You may just have severe OA. That is what I've battled since I was about 20 and it has been he!!. I've gone through 22 orthopedic surgeries related to the OA, including the 2 major spine surgeries(I know you from the spinal board). OA was slowly causing me to become paralyzed from the neck down. My spinal cord was half normal thickness from all the herniated disks and bone spurs combined with spinal stenosis. My RA only affects my lower spine although it frequently affects C1 and 2. It's OA that has been killing me. And it's the one arthritic disorder for which there is no good medical treatment. They just keep you comfortable until you get joint surgery to either replace or fuse the affected joint.

I hope maybe this explains some of the confusion and I have some big doubts that your neurologist knew you had AS. It was probably an ill-informed guess. Unless he tested you and told you that you were positive for the HLA-B27 genetic marker that predisposes you to AS and Reactive Arthritis, then you really don't know. Time to really find out what is wrong so you can get the treatment you need. Nothing worse that being treated for the wrong thing.

So ask your primary....do I have the HLA-B27 marker? If not, I want to see a rheumatologist and find out what this is and how to treat it. And if you do, then you really want to see a rheumy to get the latest drugs for it.....AS people tell they are miracle drugs.

So .....I bet you have even more questions now...ask away. I know all of this because I was mis-diagnosed with Reactive Arthritis for years and treated for the wrong thing. Why was I mis-diagnosed....they thought I had the arthritis in my sacro-iliac joints form ReA but it turned out to be OA in the sacro-iliac joints from pregnancy! The docs couldn't tell the difference between the 2 types. I had early onset OA....a new sub-set of OA that may bridge the inflammatory/non-inflammatory types. It's a very aggressive type of OA that hits young and just destroys joints. I had my knees replaced at 47 and needed them much, much earlier....like 35-40. I was bone to bone in my left knee at 24.

One hundred years ago, there were 2 kinds of arthritis...OA and RA. Now there are over 100 and counting. One hundred years from now, there will be hundreds. It's all in the tests they develop.....how to tell them apart.

So ask away and I'll try to answer whatever you need to know.

hugs............Jenny





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