Differentiating spondyloarthritides from more common mechanical back disorders is the major challenge in general practice.
- Spondyloarthritis occurs in 2 to 3% of the population and can cause significant long term disability.
- Early diagnosis of spondyloarthritis is critical in the era of effective biological therapies.
- A detailed but focused history is essential in identifying early spondyloarthritis, when examination findings and radiographs may be normal.
- Traditional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are less effective in spondyloarthritis than in rheumatoid arthritis.
- Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors have revolutionised the management of spondyloarthritis.