Ankylosing spondylitis Introduction
The most worrying factor is that it is a progressive disease which may lead to fusion of the spine.
This fusion results into permanent painful stiffness of the back. Due to Fusion and Stiffness, on an X-ray, Doctor clearly sees the image of the spine resembling a Bamboo. Hence the name 'Bamboo Spine'.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) affects male more commonly. Young adults are more prone for AS between 15 to 40 years.
Ankylosing spondylitis: an Overview and Summary
- Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis which shows chronic inflammation of the spine leading to its degeneration.
- It is a common cause of pain in the back, especially in young adults.
- Most common cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is hereditary factors and tendencies.
- Blood investigation shows HLA-B27 gene in most of the cases.
- Conventional treatment for AS comprises of medicines which can reduce inflammation and simultaneously suppress the immunity.
- The affected person must undergo Physiotherapy and mild exercise.
- Homeopathy is beneficial in many cases of AS. As, it brings about significant disease control and pain relief without side effects.
Common affections of Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Although, it involves other joints, AS commonly affects the spine.
- The joint it usually affects, are sacroiliac joints. Sacrum (bone above the tailbone) and the Iliac bones (bones on either side of the upper buttocks), both forms a Sacro-iliac joint. AS causes chronic inflammation of the sacroiliac joint resulting in pain and stiffness. This leads to a limitation of movements of spine-like bending or side-wise movements. Slowly the inflammation causes the fusion of joints.
- This fusion of joints or joining of one joint into another is called as Ankylosis. Spine gives us the luxury to bend or do sidewise movements. Due to the fusion of joints, it gets a structure of bamboo.
- In advanced cases AS can affect other organs like eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Causes and Symptoms
Ankylosing spondylitis (also called: Bechterew's disease) has no known specific cause, though genetic factors seem to be involved. In particular, people who have a gene called HLA-B27 are at greatly increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis. However, only some people with the gene develop the condition.
Ankylosing spondylitis causes
There is no clarity for the exact cause of ankylosing spondylitis. Experts include AS in the list of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis, etc. Genetic factors are responsible for the development of AS. Human Leukocyte Antigen B27 (HLAB27) gene is present in the bloodstream of the affected patients.
We will try to summarize the probable causes of AS:
- As mentioned above the HLAB27 gene is present in the bloodstream and there are tests to detect this gene. It cannot be termed as the diagnostic tool as it may not be present in some cases. Alternatively, even if this gene is present then also the person may not be affected.
- This means that for the development of AS needs other factors as well. A study in the US shows that out of 10% of positive people with HLAB27 the AS affects only 1-2 %.
- Positive family history of AS and presence of this gene in your bloodstream makes you more prone for AS.
- Autoimmunity can answer many questions related to the cause of AS. What triggers this autoimmunity is again a topic of research. Autoimmunity means that the body's defense mechanism mistakenly attacks its own cells and causes inflammation.
- When we talk about environmental or external factor responsible to develop autoimmunity or to express the underlying genetic tendency then emotional stress comes first in our mind.
- Continuous emotional stress may lead to the evolution of AS and it may also act as a maintaining factor.
Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms
- The characteristic symptom which may lead to think of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is the pain in lower back with stiffness and immobility, especially in young adults.
- This type of pain and stiffness generally shows partial or no recovery with common painkillers.
- The pain and stiffness of low back may refer to upper buttock area and rest of the spine.
- A patient feels general weakness and a sense of constant fatigue.
- The pain and stiffness gradually rise over the months as it does not respond to common painkillers.
- This pain and stiffness are, for time being, better after moving around, by heat or warm shower. Pain and stiffness are increases in the morning due to prolonged inactivity.
- In advanced cases, the fusion of the spine begins. The patient is unable to move sidewise or bend forward. Pain may disappear after the fusion of joints but mobility is lost. Fused bones are prone to fracture easily.
- In very advanced cases an X-ray shows forward curvature of the upper spine. It may lead to difficulty in breathing. Especially, Inflammation and infection of lungs due to spondylitis leads to difficulty in breathing.
- Other joints like hips, knees, and ankles can also be involved. It shows pain, stiffness, swelling, and redness.
- Other complications are Achilles Tendonitis (pain and stiffness in the back of the heel), Iritis (redness and pain in the eye), Amyloidosis (a protein called Amyloid gets deposited in kidneys causing renal failure)
Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosis
To come on the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis it requires a combination of proper clinical evaluation, a detailed case history, physical examination, and few investigations.
Physical examination is crucial as it helps in assessing the trouble in moving the joints. It also helps in finding the tenderness or signs of inflammation like redness, swelling, etc. Breathing difficulty, as well as stoop posture, can be seen in advance cases.
Common Investigations to confirm the diagnosis
- X-Ray of the lumbosacral spine to rule out inflammatory changes and fusion of joints.
- Blood test for HLA-B27 gene.
- MRI spine must be performed to check the severity and joint involvement.
- Blood tests to rule out other forms of arthritis like RA test and ANA test.
- CBC and ESR are routine tests to see blood counts, anemia, and level of infection.
The doctor may advise other investigations, depending upon case to case, such as C-reactive protein as an indicator of active inflammation. Also, Serum alkaline phosphatase (blood test) and Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) required in few cases during acute episodes.
- X-ray pelvis may show sacroiliitis or union of sacroiliac joints.
- Physician orders X-ray Lumbar spine to rule out fusion of joints. We can see the Bamboo spine appearance in the film.
- CT scan may show the level of bony fusions, erosion of spinous processes.
- MRI gives a more clear picture and the majority of cases should go for it.
Homeopathy Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which affects the large joints and spine and threatens to alter the lives of young adults.
- Considering these facts, a long-term treatment plan needs to be formulated.
- While planning a treatment protocol it is to be kept in mind that AS is a progressive disease and keeping it under control is the main aim.
- Secondly, the pain and stiffness must be relieved without being dependent on chemical-based medicines for a long time.
What To Expect
- Ideally, The doctor manages Ankylosing spondylitis with medicines, physiotherapy, and exercises. This keeps you mobile. The crux of the treatment is to get relief from pain, to be able to control the disease process, to improve the mobility of the patient, to reduce stiffness without using chemical-based medicines for a long duration.
- Although, in the start, or at the time of acute episodes, treating doctor does require regular medicines (allopathic medicines). However, the constant use of these medicines can lead to a lot of complications.
Ankylosing Spondylitis Homeopathic Treatment Overview
- Homeopath selects the medicines after individual case evaluation. He takes the Case in such a manner that he is able to evaluate the overall causative factors. The Homeopath always records the factors such as Genetic tendencies, immunological hurdles, and physical symptoms. Most importantly, he also considers the emotional parameters before prescribing.
- A person can continue Homeopathic medicines for a long duration, without worrying about the side effects. It is completely safe and effective.
- Homeopathy, however, helps in the reduction of pain and stiffness and controls the disease process. It is important to select a homeopathic doctor who has handled such cases of AS.
Advantage of Homeopathy Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
- In recent cases or at an early stage of the disease homeopathic treatment ensures reversal of the disease process.
- Excellent control of pain and stiffness for long-term relief.
- Homeopathic medicines control the underlying disease process.
- It addresses the autoimmunity and treats the root of the disease.
How MySimlia Online Homeopathy Treatment Helps
- We, at My Similia Homeopathy, always try to suggest a likely time period for the treatment. But, in AS it is easier said than done. However, with our experience, we can say that Homeopathic remedies achieve the initial pain relief in around six to eight weeks.
- Although, the total span of treatment may differ from case to case. Further, the extent of spread of the disease (damage and fusion of joints), your age and general health, and any past use of medicines harming to immunity, affects the duration of treatment.
- In all cases of ankylosing spondylitis timely diagnosis, proper medicinal intervention, self-care exercises, physiotherapy plays an extremely important role. Thus, Homeopathy keeps AS in control. Also, it avoids the need for surgical procedures.