Ankylosing spondylitis is a common inflammatory rheumatic disease that affects the axial skeleton, causing characteristic inflammatory back pain, which can lead to structural and functional impairments and a decrease in quality of life. New imaging techniques and therapies have substantially changed the management of this disease in the past decade. Whether inhibition of radiographic progression and structural damage can be reached with available drugs is as yet unclear. Furthermore, treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and physiotherapy remains an important approach to long-term management of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The new treatment options with tumour necrosis factor blockers seems a breakthrough for patients refractory to conventional treatment.