A physical exam entails looking for sites of inflammation. Your doctor will likely check for pain and tenderness along the back, pelvic bones, sacroiliac joints, neck, chest, and heels. During the exam, your doctor may also check for signs of psoriasis (a scaly skin rash), pain, stiffness, or swelling in peripheral joints, and limitations in spinal mobility.
Other symptoms and indicators are also considered, including a history of iritis or uveitis (painful inflammation of the eye), a history of gastrointestinal issues or conditions (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both associated with nr-axSpA), as well as fatigue, which can be caused by inflammation in the body. This visit should include other things besides the exam itself, including a thorough discussion of symptoms, personal and family medical history, and, when appropriate, ordering of relevant blood work.