WHAT IS ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis (inflammation of joints) which affects the spine specifically. Chronic inflammation causes the bones of the spine (vertebrae) to fuse together (ankylosis) leading to rigid spine causing pain and stiffness. The fusing of vertebrae caused by chronic inflammation may cause stooped posture as well.
- Males are affected more then females
- Family history of ankylosing spondylitis
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
- Pain: pain in lower back, hips specially starting from the sacroiliac joint. Inflammation also affects the tendons and ligaments which cause muscular pain as well.
- Stiffness: due to chronic inflammation the bones fuse together which cause stiffness and restrict mobility.
- Breathing difficulties as stiffness would cause restricted chest movements too.
- Other associated symptoms include inflammation of eyes causing eye pain, sensitivity to light and blurring of vision.
- There could be inflammation in the large arteries as well.
The exact cause of the disease is not known but there is genetic inheritance and majority of people who suffer from the disease are born with HLA-B27 gene. The presence of genes may be detected by blood test.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
- Symptoms of pain and stiffness in the back.
- Physical examination.
- X-ray findings
- For early visibility MRI should be done over x-ray as early changes can’t be detected by simple X-ray.
- Presence of HLA-B27 gene
The goal of the treatment is to relieve the pain and stiffness along with delaying the bone changes in the patient.
- Exercise: exercises would help the patient to feel better in pain and stiffness. There are various exercises which are useful in cases of ankylosing spondylitis.
- Swimming is one of the best way to get rid of pain and stiffness.
- Certain medicines are used to relieve pain and stiffness which don’t give permanent relief.
- Primary management is to relieve pain and stiffness in the patient.
- Certain exercises are advised to the patient to relieve pain and stiffness.
- Swimming is advised as it is the best exercise for ankylosing spondylitis.
- Aerobic exercises are also encouraged.
- Patient should be advised to bath with hot water in morning as hot water would remove stiffness and would help the patient to start the day well.
- Patient should be advised to improve the posture of his body while standing, sitting and lying down.
- If the patient smokes, then advice to stop smoking should be given.
- Daily breathing exercises should be done by the patient.
- Being active full day would also help the patient to feel better with pain and stiffness.
There are various homeopathic medicines which would help in relieving pain and stiffness in the patient. The medicines would also give long lasting relief to the patient and don’t have any side effects.
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Be active.
- Maintain good and appropriate posture while standing, sitting and lying down.
- Apply hot and cold packs. If inflammation is active apply cold packs and to relieve pain and stiffness when inflammation phase is over apply hot packs.
- Do yoga.
- Do exercise daily.
- Bath with hot water.
- Do brisk walking for 20 minutes at least.
- Do stretching before exercise.
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t stay in one posture for long.
- Don’t overuse the muscles.