The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Axial Spondyloarthritis

What is Axial Spondyloarthritis?

Axial Spondyloarthritis - also known as axSpA or axial SpA - is a painful, chronic arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the spine. It can also affect other joints in the body, as well as tendons and ligaments. 

Axial Spondyloarthritis may be difficult to diagnose as it cannot always be identified on x-rays or MRI scans of the back. If arthritis of the sacroiliac joints (pelvis) or spine can be seen on x-ray, the term used is radiographic axial Spondyloarthritis (r-axSpA). This condition was previously called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and today, both terms (r-axSpA and AS) are used interchangeably.

If there are no signs of sacroiliitis on x-ray but there is evidence of inflammation in the joints on MRI, the term used is non-radiographic axial Spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA). 

To learn more about Axial Spondyloarthritis please visit the National Axial Spondyloarthritis Society (NASS) Website.

This video explains more about AS and how it affects other parts of your body:


This video explains what it is like to live with AS: