Ankylosing Spondylitis

 

 

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis

 

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a condition that causes inflammation in the spine. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the joints of the neck back, and pelvis to become inflamed, leading to pain and stiffness. Although it mainly affects the spine it can also affect other joints around the body such as the shoulders, hips, knees, ankle, and the joints between your ribs and sternum. AS may also affect other parts of the body such as the eyes, skin, bowel and lungs.

AS affects around 2{95f364b8aea3ba4afb976a81c1dcc2e8147daac1866ef443968911255633a999} of the population. It is about 3 times more common in males than females and usually first appears between the ages of 15-45 years. The exact cause of AS is not known, and it does not seem to be the result of any particular injury, infection, lifestyle or occupation. However it seems that almost all cases are hereditary particularly in people who carry the HLA-B27 gene.

 

Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

ankylosing-spondylitisEarly signs and symptoms of AS may include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips. The pain is often described as a deep ache and is often worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity.

Hips, shoulders, your heel and the cartilage between your breastbone and ribs can be affected as well (which can limit ease of breathing). People with AS may also experience iritis (red, itchy, sore eyes and blurry vision) and/or inflammatory bowel syndrome-like symptoms of diarrhoea and bloating.

Not everyone will develop these symptoms, and they can come and go. For others they will gradually worsen over time. Usually the symptoms appear gradually with peak onset around 20-30 years of age.

In advanced cases of AS the outer fibres of the spinal discs start to calcify and some of the vertebra of the spine can become fused together. This can be seen on spinal Xrays and is referred to as ‘Bamboo Spine’.

 

 

Diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

There is no specific test for AS. Medical diagnosis of AS is based on the patients history, spinal range of movement, Xrays, and possibly MRI or CT scans of the spine and pelvis, and blood tests for the HLA-B27 gene (which is not definitive as most HLA-B27 carriers do not have AS).

 

Treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

There is no cure as such for AS. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and stiffness, as well as prevent or delay the progression of other complications and spinal deformity.

Conventional medicine includes anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAID’S (ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, etc.) which will ease the inflammation and pain, but can also cause gastro-intestinal bleeding.

Surgery may be an option in extreme cases where joint replacement is deemed necessary.

 

Many sufferers of AS seek out a more natural way of coping without the need to rely on medications and their side-effects.

At Healthyspines.org we always prefer to take a more natural approach. There are always many options available that are just as, if not more, effective than conventional medicine. For AS we highly recommend taking Turmeric, an extremely powerful natural anti-inflammatory that has many other amazing health benefits including treating cancer and Alzheimers.

It is also highly recommended to keep active, particularly stretching to maintain your range of motion. Yoga, or our very own Total Back Pain Solution are the most effective ways of improving and maintaining spinal health.

 

If you have any questions, or would like to share your own experience, please leave us a comment below.

Also, if you have found this article helpful, please share it so we can help even more people! Thankyou.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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