What is ankylosing spondylitis?
‘Ankylosing’ means fusion of the bones and ‘spondylitis’ means inflammation of the spinal bones or vertebrae. Ankylosis spondylitis, also known as Bechterew disease, is a rare type of arthritis, which primary affects the spine. The disease causes fusion of the bones of vertebrae over time, resulting into pain and stiffness of the spine.
In severe cases, inflammation of the vertebrae for long time periods may result into chronic pain and disability like hunched-forward posture. When the disease progresses, new bones may start forming on the bones, leading to deformity in the spine.
The disease usually starts in the lower back portion of the body, but may spread to neck and other parts also. Most often the larger joints are affected, like the shoulders, hips and knees.
Ankylosing spondylitis has been seen to affect women more as compared to men. The disease usually starts in the early adulthood. Inflammation can happen in other parts of the body also, like eyes.
Homeopathy has a very promising role to play in cases of ankylosing spondylitis. The medicines not only relieve pain, they also ease in movement and prevent the disease to progress.
The specific cause of ankylosing spondylitis is still not clear, but it is known that the disease tends to run in families and thus genetics has a role to play in this disorder. It has been seen that if a parent or any sibling has the disease in the family, the chances of developing this medical condition increases by about 10-20 times.
Researchers have also found that people who have HLA-B27 genes in them are greatly at risk for developing ankylosing spondylitis. Though, it’s been seen that only a few people carrying this gene tend to develop this condition.
Sign and symptoms
The sign and symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis vary from mild to moderated intensity. The symptoms flare up periodically with phases of almost no pain and inflammation.
The most common symptom include pain in back, that may aggravate in the morning or at night. Some people may even experience pain in large joints like hips and shoulders. Some other common symptoms may include-
- Stiffness of joints in the morning
- Poor posture while walking or sitting
- Stopped shoulders
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Reduced efficiency of lungs
Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation of the other parts of the body, so people who are suffering with this disease may also experience symptoms of-
- Inflammation of the bowels
- Mild inflammation of the eyes
- Inflammation of the heart valves
- Achilles tendonitis
- Ankylosing spondylitis is seen to be affecting women, more than men.
- The symptoms usually appear during adulthood, so people in this age group are more at risk.
- Family history of the disease
- People suffering with the disease are seen carrying HLA-B27 genes. However, most of them having this gene do not develop this condition.
Most common complication of ankylosing spondylitis are caused due to formation of new bones on the vertebrae. These new formed bones fuse with the other adjacent vertebrae, making those parts immovable and stiff. Fusion of the bones may even affect the ribs and reduce its flexibility too, resulting into low lung functioning.
Other complications may involve-
- Compression fractures
- Certain heart problems
The doctor will carefully examine the physical symptoms of the patient, by asking him to bend in various directions to check out for the range of motion of the spine. He may also ask the patient to take deep breadth to check the expansion of the ribs and lungs.
Doctor can suggest to go for some imaging tests like- x-rays and MRI to evaluate the condition of the spine.
Homeopathic treatment can effectively reduce the pain and inflammation of the joints. The medicines can increase the range of motion of the spine, and increase the flexibility of the joints.
Homeopathic medicines can also reduce the progression of the disease and prevent the bones to become distorted, which can increase the disability in a person.