what is ankylosing spondylitis

What is Ankylosing Spondylosis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine. It causes inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae, which can lead to the fusion of the spine and a loss of flexibility in the back. AS can also affect other joints in the body, such as the hips, shoulders, and knees.

AS is a chronic condition that tends to develop in early adulthood, typically between the ages of 17 and 45. It is more common in men than women, and there may be a genetic component to the condition. Symptoms of AS can vary widely from person to person and may include pain and stiffness in the back, hips, and other joints, fatigue, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, AS can also affect the eyes, heart, and lungs.

Causes of Ankylosing Spondylitis:

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is thought to be caused by a confluence of genetic and environmental factors, while the specific cause is still not fully understood. The followings are some recognized causes and risk factors for AS:

  1. A genetic component may be involved because AS frequently runs in families. Actually, there is a particular gene called HLA-B27 that is very closely related to AS. However, not everyone who carries this gene goes on to develop AS, and not everyone who has AS carries this gene.
  2. Environmental considerations: In individuals who are genetically susceptible to AS, certain environmental conditions, such as infections or exposure to specific toxins, may cause the start of the disorder.
  3. Age and gender: Young adults, typically in their late teens or early 20s, are the majority of people who develop AS. Males are more prone than women to get AS.
  4. Ethnicity: Although it can affect persons of any ethnicity, AS is more prevalent in those with Northern European ancestry.
  5. Other disorders: The chance of acquiring AS is higher in those with other inflammatory illnesses including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or psoriasis.
  6. Smoking: It’s been established that smoking increases the likelihood of acquiring AS and exacerbates symptoms in those who already have the condition.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Symptoms:

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and sacroiliac joints, causing inflammation and stiffness. Some common symptoms of AS include:

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis
  1. Back pain and stiffness: The most common symptom of AS is chronic pain and stiffness in the lower back and buttocks. The pain is often worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity and may improve with exercise or activity. The stiffness may also cause difficulty bending, twisting, or turning.
  2. Limited mobility: AS can lead to decreased flexibility and mobility, particularly in the spine. This can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as tying shoes, getting in and out of a car, or lifting objects.
  3. Fatigue: Many people with AS experience fatigue, which may be related to the chronic inflammation associated with the condition. The fatigue can be debilitating and may interfere with daily activities.
  4. Joint pain and swelling: AS can also affect other joints in the body, such as the hips, shoulders, and knees. The joint pain and swelling are often symmetrical, meaning they occur on both sides of the body at the same time. This can lead to difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time.
  5. Eye inflammation: In some cases, AS can cause inflammation of the eye (uveitis), which can cause eye pain, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision. Uveitis can be a serious complication of AS and requires prompt medical attention.
  6. Chest pain: AS can also cause inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breastbone (costochondritis), which can cause chest pain.

Unusual Symptoms:

In addition to the common symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) that I mentioned earlier, there are some unusual symptoms that some people with AS may experience. Here are five of them:

  1. Bowel inflammation: AS can cause inflammation in the intestines, which can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding. This can sometimes be mistaken for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  2. Heart problems: AS can also cause inflammation of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, which can lead to aortic regurgitation (leaking of the aortic valve), aortic aneurysm (bulging of the aorta), or other heart problems.
  3. Lung problems: AS can cause inflammation of the lungs, which can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain. This can sometimes be mistaken for other lung conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  4. Neurological symptoms: In rare cases, AS can cause inflammation in the spinal cord or nerves, leading to neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs.
  5. Skin problems: AS can cause skin rashes or lesions, such as psoriasis or erythema nodosum (painful red bumps on the skin). These skin problems may be related to the underlying inflammation associated with AS.

It’s important to note that these unusual symptoms are not common in people with AS and may be related to other conditions.

How to diagnose ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the joints and ligaments of the spine. The diagnosis of AS involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Here are the steps for diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis:

  • Medical history:

The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, such as back pain and stiffness, fatigue, and any other medical conditions you have. They will also ask about your family history of AS or other autoimmune diseases.

  • Physical examination:

The doctor will examine your spine, looking for signs of inflammation, such as tenderness and swelling, and assessing your range of motion. They will also examine other joints, such as your hips, knees, and shoulders, to see if they are affected by inflammation.

  • Blood tests:

There is no specific blood test for AS, but certain blood tests can help rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Blood tests can also detect markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which may be elevated in people with AS.

  • Imaging tests:

Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans, can help to visualize changes in the joints and ligaments of the spine and detect early signs of AS. X-rays can show the fusion of the joints in the spine, while MRI scans can detect inflammation and damage to the soft tissues around the joints.

  • HLA-B27 testing:

About 90% of people with AS have a genetic marker called HLA-B27, which may increase the risk of developing the condition. A blood test can determine if you have this marker, although its presence does not necessarily mean you have AS.

Ankylosis Spondylitis Treatment in Ayurveda:

Line of treatment:

Internal Medicine:

  • Guduchyadi Kashayam
  • Rasnapanchak Kashayam
  • Rasnadi Guggulu
  • Guduchi Churnam
  • Guggulutiktak Ghritam
  • Sinhanad Guggulu
  • Ajmodadi Churnam
  • Rasnasaptak Kashayam
  • Aamvatari Rasa

External Treatment:

  • Abhayanga: Herbal warm oil Masasge. Oil using like, Pinda Tailam, Kshirbala Tailam
  • Swedana (Sudation):

–  Patrapinda Swedana – in which warm medicated poultices are used to provide relief from pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the body.

Valuka Swedana – in which heated sand is used to provide relief from pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

  •  Basti: This is an enema therapy that involves the administration of medicated oils or herbal decoctions through the rectum. Basti helps to pacify the vata dosha and reduce stiffness, Inflammation.
  •  Dhara: Stream pouring of medicated liquid or oil over the body. Liquid using like, Dashmool Kshir Dhara.
  • Upanaha & Lepam: Poultices of medicated Pastes using compounds like Rasnadi Churnam, Kottamchukkadi lepam

By Dr.Dimpal Baldha

I'm DR. Dimple Baldha, an Ayurvedic doctor and I have treated more than a thousand patients in my couple of years of experience in this field. This has given me a lot of insights and positive areas to work with people from different parts of the world managing arthritis issues, Dietary changes, healthy lifestyles, and metabolic disorders. I have good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine, Panchkarma treatment, Healthy lifestyle and yoga. I have treated so many diseases like spondylitis, psoriasis, allergies and bronchial asthma. Talks about #health, #ayurveda, #wellness, #healthylifestyle

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