Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory disease that includes pain and stiffness in the spine and may affect other joints. AS is an autoimmune disease that typically begins in young adulthood, but often gets overlooked or incorrectly diagnosed as pain from a previous injury or aging.

Over time, if left untreated, AS inflammation can damage the spine and cause the spine to fuse, resulting in what some people call “bamboo spine.” This damage to the spine is irreversible.


(pronounced an-kih-low-sing)

refers to joints becoming abnormally stiff and immobile due to fused bones


(pronounced spon-dill-eye-tiss)

defined as inflammation of the spine


Ankylosing spondylitis is part of a family of diseases called axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA). AxSpA includes 2 related inflammatory diseases, AS and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA). Both diseases include symptoms like back pain and may damage the spine. The main difference is that nr-axSpA may not show visible damage on an X-ray, while AS damage may be visible.


AS pain is most often felt in the back and along the spine, and can be felt in other places like the hips, ribs, buttocks, and neck. Pain can come and go, and may flare up at times.



Back pain and stiffness that may come and go but never really go away (chronic)


Stiffness, especially in the morning


Back pain and stiffness along the spine, or in the buttocks and lower back from inflammation of the sacroiliac (SI) joints. This may lead to a loss of spinal mobility


Dull pain and stiffness in the shoulders, hips, ribs, knees, heels, and neck


The only way to know that your back pain is from AS is to get diagnosed by a doctor, like a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists are doctors that treat many diseases that are difficult to diagnose, like diseases of the spine and autoimmune diseases.

A rheumatologist could help you understand more about your back pain, and if you may be suffering from mechanical back pain or inflammatory back pain.

Find a rheumatologist in your area.

Mechanical back pain

Mechanical back pain

Mechanical back pain may be caused by an injury or overuse. It usually goes away after 6 weeks.

Inflammatory back pain

Inflammatory back pain

Inflammatory back pain is usually caused by certain diseases and is chronic, which means it never really goes away. It usually appears in people under the age of 35. The symptoms, like back pain and stiffness, may last 3 months or longer and tend to come and go, but never really improve.

Watch to learn more about back pain and symptoms of AS from Dr. Elizabeth Perkins, as she sits down and talks to real people with AS taking COSENTYX.

Dr. Perkins was compensated for her time.


AS affects men and women differently. Compared with men, women with AS typically are younger at onset, are diagnosed later, and have more neck pain and pain in the joints farther away from the spine, like the knees, elbows, and ankles. Women may also have less spinal involvement than men.


Both men and women can get AS


Estimated number of people in the United States with axSpA and related conditions


The average age of diagnosis is around 34, but it often takes people almost 9 years from the time they feel symptoms until they get an official diagnosis



People with AS in their families. There is a possible genetic link.


People with the HLA-B27 gene. This gene has been associated with AS and is detected in a blood test among certain people with AS. But it’s possible to have AS and not test positive for HLA-B27.

Wendy walking and holding purse strap
Actual Patient

Individual results may vary. Wendy was compensated for her time.

"I just started noticing a lot of joint pain that didn't really seem to make sense. At first, I thought I had overdone it at the gym."


7/22 208024

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COSENTYX® (secukinumab) is a prescription medicine used to treat:

  • people 6 years of age and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis that involves large areas or many areas of the body, and who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet or UV light alone or with systemic therapy)

  • people 4 years of age and older with active enthesitis-related arthritis

  • people 2 years of age and older with active psoriatic arthritis

  • adults with active ankylosing spondylitis

  • adults with active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis and objective signs of inflammation

Important Safety Information

Do not use COSENTYX if you have had a severe allergic reaction to secukinumab or any of the other ingredients in COSENTYX. See the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients.

COSENTYX is a medicine that affects your immune system. COSENTYX may increase your risk of having serious side effects such as:


COSENTYX may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections, sometimes serious.

  • Your doctor should check you for tuberculosis (TB) before starting treatment with COSENTYX.
  • If your doctor feels that you are at risk for TB, you may be treated with medicine for TB before you begin treatment with COSENTYX and during treatment with COSENTYX.
  • Your doctor should watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with COSENTYX. Do not take COSENTYX if you have an active TB infection.

Before starting COSENTYX, tell your doctor if you:

  • are being treated for an infection
  • have an infection that does not go away or that keeps coming back
  • have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB
  • think you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection such as: fevers, sweats, or chills; muscle aches; cough; shortness of breath; blood in your phlegm; weight loss; warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body; diarrhea or stomach pain; burning when you urinate or urinate more often than normal

After starting COSENTYX, call your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection listed above. Do not use COSENTYX if you have any signs of infection unless you are instructed to by your doctor.

Inflammatory bowel disease

New cases of inflammatory bowel disease or “flare-ups” can happen with COSENTYX, and can sometimes be serious. If you have inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), tell your doctor if you have worsening disease symptoms during treatment with COSENTYX or develop new symptoms of stomach pain or diarrhea.

Serious allergic reactions

Serious allergic reactions can occur. Get emergency medical help right away if you get any of the following symptoms: feeling faint; swelling of your face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat; trouble breathing or throat tightness; chest tightness; skin rash or hives (red, itchy bumps). If you have a severe allergic reaction, do not give another injection of COSENTYX.  

Before starting COSENTYX, tell your doctor if you:

  • have any of the conditions or symptoms listed above for infections.

  • have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis).

  • are allergic to latex. The needle cap on the COSENTYX Sensoready® 150 mg/mL pen and the 150 mg/mL and 75 mg/0.5 mL prefilled syringes contains latex.

  • have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). People who take COSENTYX should not receive live vaccines. Children should be brought up to date with all vaccines before starting COSENTYX.

  • have any other medical conditions.

  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if COSENTYX can harm your unborn baby. You and your doctor should decide if you will use COSENTYX.

  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if COSENTYX passes into your breast milk.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

How should I use COSENTYX?

See the detailed Instructions for Use that comes with your COSENTYX for information on how to prepare and inject a dose of COSENTYX, and how to properly throw away (dispose of) used COSENTYX Sensoready pens and prefilled syringes.

  • Use COSENTYX exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

  • If your doctor decides that you or a caregiver may give your injections of COSENTYX at home, you should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject COSENTYX. Do not try to inject COSENTYX yourself, until you or your caregiver has been shown how to inject COSENTYX by your doctor or nurse.

The most common side effects of COSENTYX include: cold symptoms, diarrhea, and upper respiratory infections. These are not all of the possible side effects of COSENTYX. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

 Please see full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.