Is it possible to be diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at 51?

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Hi I have low back pain for many years which I put down to being a nurse. 5yr ago I developed pain over the upper back, and was prescribed Naproxen for pleurisy. These didnt agree with me and when i seen a different GP he suggested polymyalgia. Over the coming weeks I developed neck, shoulder and hip pain. After 14 months of physio and tests I was diagnosed with Polymyalgia and have been on steroids since. Recently I mentioned to my Rheumatologist I was waking in the 2nd half of the night with either severe low back pain or pain in the ribcage when attempting to turn. These pains always occur when tapering my steroid dose. She suggested i have a spondylarthropathy with an overlap of my PMR. I had an xray of the sacro-iliac joint which confirms sacroilitis. I am due to see a world reknowned Dr who specialises in seronegative spondyloarthropathy. I have no family history of AS or chrohns or psoriasis or iritis. I did have my HLAB27 checked but dont know the result. Over the 5yrs since this journey started I have become increasingly stiff. I am due to go to Leeds next week for MRI of spine and Pelvis. I do have constant pain in the buttocks and outer thighs, and my bottom, thoracic spine and rib cage are very tender. Looking at the dignostic criteria, it appears i fit the criteria with the low back pain and possitive xray. Would value your views. Many Thanks

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  • Posted

    Hi, at 17 my sacroiliac joints created a limp on my right side. Later my ribs, chest, collar bone, hamstrings & heels. I attributed it to my job, landscaping, pipe fitting. I finally had to retire the field after popping my chest bone lifting a fallen tree. I was diagnosed w/AS at age 28 in 1988 after litterally thinking I was dying & didn't have access to info we have now. So I can't tell you whether or not you have AS but maybe comparing your symptoms with mine which eventually got worse. Rheumatologist prescribed Indocin ( anti-inflammatory ) which was a miracle drug that along with other reasons gave me GERD & kidney desease. I stopped that and in 2002 started Remicade infusions every 8wks which keeps me from being bedridden with growing medical conditions. It uses your immune system to relieve pain & compromises your immune system. Inform yourself deeply before considering it. Hope I answered your questions & help with your future decisions. I'm always available, even if it's a little late.

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    • Posted

      Hi Maton,

      For the last 4yrs I have been taking Prednisolone currently on 10mgs, and for the last 2.5yr I have taken the DMARD Azathioprine, so I am familiar with having my immune system depressed. I have just stopped Aza and am having an ultrasound of my liver, as recent bloods were raised after Rheumatologist increased the dose to 200mgs. In view of the X-ray result she wants to try methotrexate whilst I await the experts opinion. Thanks for your input x

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen.

    I have ankylosing Spondyloarthritis, diagnosed about 18 months ago and fibromyalgia has just commenced out of the blue about 6 months ago.

    Yes, everything you described fits my description and mine started with X-ray's that proved sacroiliac joint was inflamed. Stage 1-2 deterioration with a bit of wear and tear also with left hip and chronic pain though in left groin and left buttocks, especially after walking a lot. That was deferred pain.

    Another X-ray 12 months later showed further deterioration to stage 2-3 in that right hip and stage 1-2 in left hip. Freaked me out:- chronic pain from inflammation was causing this deterioration and I know how imperative it is that I get pro-active , educated in what's happening to me asap as this will change the end result.

    I am now 54, and it has been a forced lifestyle change that is very challenging and lonely .

    I had to stop working, eliminate stress as much as possible, do regular hydro, do all that physio, Dr and rheumatologist says and build my support group..not easy...and try to save my marriage at the same time.

    We are getting along a bit better since I moved out for second time. Gives each other space to think. Reduces bit of my stress but I still love him, feel he's pushing me away though...

    I wish you loads of luck.. Worse part for me is our lack of finances, especially if my husband decides to abandon me. I'm the only one getting personal counselling along the way and he refuses it!

    We have a mortgage with our farm and this couldn't have happened at a worse time. We've had a rural counsellor working with us about 4 times so far.

    I saw a relationship counsellor last week. He was happy about that. I will next try to see if he will agree to see her also, with or without me.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jillian,

      I'm not sure what grade my sacrilitis is on X-ray. I am used to living with chronic pain from my polymyalgia (PMR), I also have Giant cell arteritis which causes disabling head pain, jaw and tongue pain. Having read a lot in the past few days, I think my chronic lower back pain prior to the PMR was probably inflammatory back pain, although I always put it down to the nursing.

      I'm sorry to hear it has taken a toll on your marriage, I think it's difficult for partners to understand what we are going through. My husband read up on my illnesses and knows everything about them. He helps with housework and shopping, but if I breakdown when it all gets too much he's at a loss what to do. He's never been the type to come over and just give you a hug. I hope counselling works out for you.

      I'm fortunate that as we can do shifts I have managed to continue working, I do a max of 2 12.5hr shifts then take a day or two off to recover. I'm hoping if the diagnosis changes I may even start to feel a little less stiff. You live and hope. Thanks for your story x

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    • Posted

      Hi there Maureen,

      Thankyou very much for your kind words of support.

      Best of luck to you too Maureen, but watch out for burn-out.- I ignored my body trying to tell me to slow down for too long and now I'm paying for it.

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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen.  I have been diagnosed with Seronegative Spondylarthritis.  Or most of my doctors say As.  I am 54 years old and diagnosed for 9 months.  I am HLBA27 negative.  I have inflammation on MRI in SI joints and pain, stiffness and fatigue to varying degrees.  I agree with comments regarading lifestyle changes and relationship strains.  My heart goes out to everyone out there and best of luck.  It seems a matter of making the best of the better days.  Medications are not the miracle drugs for me yet, but I am hoping.  eg NSAIDS then Sulfasalzine, now ENBREL (4 weeks).   Thanks to those who share their stories. (:-)
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  • Posted

    Hi Maureen,

    ?  I suffered from lower back pain for many years.  It was simply diagnosed as facet joint arthritis at first.  It got more constant and I started developing the buttocks pain radiating into the hip.  I do have a family history of similar issues with a mother and two siblings showing the same issues but no one ever got diagnosed with AS.  I finally saw a rheumatologist at age 58 and was diagnosed with axial spondyloarthropathy since thankfully I don't yet show the classic x-ray/mri evidence of AS.  So I guess thats a roundabout way of saying that getting diagnosed in your 50's is certainly possible.

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  • Posted

    Hi again, I forgot also to mention that after being diagonsed I found there is a history of sibling with ASdiagonesed via Xray in late 1970's, though all well now with NO medications.  I am lucky with very little back pain until the last year to 18 months.  But many specialists seem surprised by this.  I am struggling with the diagnosis and being on medication, though I guess this is only natural.   (:-)  ps I do not yet (thankfully) show xray damage from Sa but do have Osteoporosis and some Fiscal joint arthritis.

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