Although a rare disorder, ankylosing spondylitis is often considered in the differential diagnosis of low back pain. The disease primarily affects young white men and is characterized by early morning stiffness in the lower back that typically improves with activity. Patients often have tenderness over one or both sacroiliac joints and limited spinal mobility. With large doses of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and prompt physical therapy, disability may be kept to a minimum and survival is near normal.
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