Spondyloarthropathy is a group of conditions related to arthritis that affect the points where the bones connect to tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect the bones to muscles, while ligaments connect the bones to each other. Spondyloarthropathy attacks the vertebrae, or the bones in the spine. It also attacks the joints that connect to them, such as the bones that make up the hips and shoulders. Fortunately, spondyloarthropathies are rare, with the disorder affecting less than one percent of adults in the United States. Men are much more likely to be affected than women, and in some individuals, spondyloarthropathies have a genetic component.
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Enteropathic spondyloarthropathy is linked to disorders of the gut, and it sometimes appears in individuals who have inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Patients who have this type of spondyloarthropathy have pain and stiffness in their back that arise just before or at the same time as their gastrointestinal symptoms. The treatment of enteropathic spondyloarthropathy can be complex. The doctor not only has to treat the pain and inflammation but the symptoms of the inflammatory bowel disease, which can be severe, as well. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can ease the pain of the arthritis component of this condition while exacerbating the gastrointestinal symptoms.
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