Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Although many people with ankylosing spondylitis have mild back pain that comes and goes, others develop severe, constant, debilitating pain that can cause the spine to become inflexible.

  • Early signs of ankylosing spondylitis include pain and stiffness in the lower back and buttocks, especially upon waking and after periods of inactivity. Sometimes the pain will disturb one from sleep. The pain begins as a gradual, dull pain that intensifies over time.
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Eye or bowel inflammation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss


The most severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis have symptoms that include:

  • Decreased range of motion, due to fusion of the bones
  • Calcification and fusion of the bones, including rib cage, that makes breathing difficult


Because the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are similar to other inflammatory diseases, it is important to be seen by a specialist in order to be properly diagnosed and treated (see Diagnosing and Treating Ankylosing Spondylitis). At Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, our specialists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating conditions of the spine.

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Our Care Team

  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837 (Queens) / 888-922-2257 (Manhattan)
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn)
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-780-3070

Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787