HOUSTON, June 15 (UPI) -- Researchers at Houston's Texas Children's Hospital warn that many children can have arthritis of the spine for years which can be overlooked or go untreated.
The study is the first national life impact study of this form of arthritis, and urges physicians and parents of such children to become more aware of the problem.
The hospital said when kids or teens experience aching joints and stiffness it may be arthritis of the spine and other joints known as ankylosing spondylitis. The researchers said the problem can often go undiagnosed for years and years, leading to serious problems in adulthood.
The findings are reported in the June 15 issue of Arthritis Care and Research.
Dr. Robert Warren, one of the publication authors, said: "We need to diagnose their illnesses early and provide appropriate medications and other therapy. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, a 13-year-old -- who may otherwise go undiagnosed -- can experience significant relief of symptoms and potentially minimize or avoid disease-related disability later in life."