Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bechterew's Disease, Marie-Strumpell Disease and Rheumatoid Spondylitis) is a condition that causes long-term inflammation of the spine and sometimes shoulder or hip joints), resulting in pain and rigidity. It almost exclusively affects men, with the first symptoms usually appearing before the age of 45. If you require ankylosing spondylitis treatment, you are advised to travel to Israel where you will benefit from the experience and skills of world-leading rheumatologists.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Treatment

There are two important investigations that need to be performed before Bechterew disease treatment can commence: An MRI scan of the sacroiliac joint and a HLA-B27 antigen blood test.

There are several approaches to treatment. Recently, anti-TNF-alpha drugs have become the most common form of therapy. However, as there are different methods, protocols are determined on a case-by-case basis.

The cost of the treatment program will be comprised of the following:

  • Extensive blood work-up (CBC, CMP, electrolyte levels, as well as rheumatoid and coagulation factors)
  • HLA-B27 testing
  • MRI of pelvis and sacrum (with contrast material)
  • Rheumatologist consultation

The investigations take 3 business days to complete. All tests take place at either Assuta or Tel HaShomer medical centers. Genotyping results will be ready within 20 days. Your treatment plan may be adjusted depending on its findings (you will not have to be present in Israel for this; we will email you the updated recommendations).

Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis

While no specific causes have been identified yet, it is known that there is a genetic factor involved – people who test positive for HLA-B27 protein have a much higher risk of developing Bechterew's disease. It should, however, be clarified, that those who have the gene will not necessarily develop the disease.


Pain and stiffness in lower back and hips (especially in the mornings and after periods of inactivity) are the most frequent symptoms. Fatigue and neck pain are also fairly common. If you experience lower back pain, that is more prominent in the morning or wakes you up during the second half of the night, and that improves after exercise, you should seek treatment for ankylosing spondylitis.

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