Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease or a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine or back, over time, can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse. If ribs are affected, it can be difficult to breathe deeply. The fusing of the spinal vertebrae which is also known a “Bamboo Spine” , makes the spine less flexible and can result in a forward hunch posture. Ankylosing spondylitis affects men more often than women. Signs and symptoms typically begin in early adulthood. Inflammation also can occur in other parts of your body, most commonly, your eyes.
Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis
The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown, but genes and heredity play an important role.
Some studies suggest that Ankylosing Spondylitis may be triggered by an infection. In particular, people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis. However, only some people with the gene develop the condition.
The area’s most commonly affected in Ankylosing Spondylitis are:
- The sacroiliac joint that is between the base of your spine and your pelvis.
- The vertebrae in your lower back.
- The places where your tendons and ligaments attach to bones, mainly in your spine, but sometimes along the back of your heel.
- The cartilage between your breastbone and ribs.
- Your hip and shoulder joints.
The most common symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis are:
- It is most commonly seen in age group of 17-35.
- Chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back, buttocks and hips.
- Pain and stiffness which worsens during periods of rest or inactivity and improves with movement and exercise.
- Early morning stiffness of joints.
- Overtime, the inflammation can cause the sacroiliac and vertebral bones to fuse or grow together. When the bones fuse, the spine loses its normal flexibility and becomes rigid.
- The rib cage also may fuse which can limit normal chest expansion and make breathing more difficult. Inflammation and pain also can occur in the hips, shoulders, knees, ankles, toes and fingers, which may limit mobility.
- The heels may be affected, making it uncomfortable to stand or walk on hard surfaces.
- Smokers who have ankylosing spondylitis have more spinal damage than non-smokers with the same level of disease activity.
- The disease is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
- The disease can cause fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and inflammation in the lungs, heart and eyes.
- Eye inflammation (called iritis or uveitis) occurs in more than one-fourth of people with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Iritis causes redness and pain in the eye that worsens with exposure to bright light causing blurring of vision.
How to diagnose Ankylosing Spondylitis?
For the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis the doctor generally rely on medical history, physical examination of joints and spine, imaging tests of the pelvis and also blood tests to check for the HLA-B27 gene.
Homoeopathic Approach/ Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis:
It is universally known that Ankylosing spondylitis is not curable but with the help of gentle medicines like homoeopathy, the disease progress can be slowed down.
Conventional medicines include Analgesics, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), Disease-modifying Anti-rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and Corticosteroids. If none of them work then the last option is Surgery but still the pathology keeps progressing with other joints of the body. None of them would give long-term relief to the patient.
Homoeopathy helps naturally by stimulating the immune system and helps to slow down the progress of the disease.
Homoeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body’s own healing capacity.
Homeopathy is free from any side-effects.
Homoeopathic medicines help to reduce stress if any and rebuild self-confidence because it deals with the patient as a person and not only the disease.
Conventional medicines could lead to more exhaustion or tiredness but with homoeopathy there is no such side-effect.
Homoeopathic medicines are not addictive and do not damage any other organs of the body unlike conventional medicines.
Self Management of Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Self-management is the best way to slow down the progress of ankylosing spondylitis.
- Regular physical activity is the most important component of AS management. The main goal is to prevent permanent stiffness and preserve the range of motion in your neck and back.
- Deep-breathing exercises and aerobic activities will help keep your chest and rib cage flexible.
- Swimming is a good option because it helps keep your spine, neck, shoulders and hips flexible.
- General strengthening and aerobic exercise can improve overall health and function in individuals with AS.
- Stop Smoking. Smoking will worsen any lung problems due to AS and is an important risk factor for osteoporosis.
- Maintaining proper body posture is important to prevent joints from fusing in undesirable positions.
- Avoid lifting, stooping and remaining in cramped or bent positions. Maintain good posture by adjusting the height of your desk or computer monitor. Some people find it helpful to alternate between standing and sitting and using a cushion to support a painful back.