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Spondylitis versus Degenerative Disk Disease
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Spondylitis versus Degenerative Disk Disease

If you have a spondyloarthropathy based on a diagnosis of sacroilitis, reactive arthritis for instance, and you develop degeneration in your lumbar, thoracic and cervical area, with loss of lordosis in the lumbar and cervical areas, how does one differentiate the spondylitis from degenerative disk disease?  Would it automatically be assumed that the spinal degeneration is spondylitis since there is ankylosis of the sacroiliac joints or does the xray specialist have to see specific things on the mri to call it spondylitis?

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Dear Friend,
In medical field, there are many conditions which are inter-related.
Spine arthritis, be it for any reason (Sacroilitis, reactive arthritis) will lead to degeneration of the joints (cartilage) and hence eventually cause degeneration of the disc. Hence it will cause Degenerative disc disease.
However the treatment will vary.

As far as differentiation -
1) Degenerative disc disease normally occur in older age group as compared to other groups referred.
2) The cause of degenerative disc disease will be simple overuse or age , where as other will have a specific cause (as shown in the blood reports).
3) The onset of degenerative disc disease will be slow as compared to others.
4) The symptoms of degenerative disc disease will vary with the stress/work levels where as not the same case in others.

X-Ray changes can point towards sacro-ilitis.
However if the X0Ray films are not clear or causes any doubt inside the mind of the surgeon, then the need for MI arises.

I hope your question was answered.
Still if unclear, please feel free to ask.
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