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Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune, arthritic condition characterized by symptoms predominantly affecting the spine. Symptoms of AS usually include lower back pain, stiffness, and loss of flexibility. These symptoms are frequently worse in the morning, at night, and after periods of immobility.
Unlike other causes of back pain, AS onset typically occurs in adolescents and young adults; the average age of onset is 25 years. Traditionally, AS has been felt to be two to three times more common in men, but more recent research suggests that AS may be under-recognized in women.