Ayurvedic Treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the sacroiliac joint as well as the joints between the spinal processes. The word ankylosis means abnormal adhesion of the bones of a joint or the fusion or consolidation of two or more bones or other hard tissues into one. The word is of Greek origin. The sacroiliac joint is where the sacrum, just above the tailbone, and the iliac bones located on either side of the buttocks, meet. The disease causes pain and inflammation in the affected joints, but may also cause this same effect in other parts of the body as well.
Chronic inflammation in affected areas, vertebrae and sacroiliac (SI) joint, will cause pain and stiffness in and around the spine. Over time chronic inflammation can lead to the vertebral bodies fusing together in a process called ankylosis as described above. This leads to the loss of mobility at the joints affected.
Like some forms of arthritis – psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis and reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis is also a systemic disease. It also affects other tissues around the body. The tissues of the eyes, heart, lungs and kidneys are particularly vulnerable. Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic disease with no proven cure and treatments can decrease pain and moderate symptoms. The success of the treatment depends on early detection and it particularly seeks to prevent complications and physical deformities. This condition belongs to the class of diseases called seronegative rheumatoid arthritis, where RA factor is negative. Ankylosing spondylitis is an auto immune disease and most of the others in seronegative rheumatoid arthritis come under the same category. Ankylosing spondylitis has a genetic component HLA- B27 gene and now there are blood tests to detect this marker.
Men are seen to be more commonly affected than women and some studies say it is two to three times more common in men than in women. In men AS primarily affects the joints of the spinal column whereas in women it is the joints away from the spine that get affected. Children are not commonly affected, but rare cases have been reported. Common age of onset is in the twenties and thirties.
Common complaints of AS patients are a chronic pain in the lower back and hips especially in the early morning or after rest. Symptoms start with stiffness in the lower back or hip area and as the disease progresses the symptoms may get worse or improve depending on the treatment. As sequel tendons and ligaments attached to ribs, spine, hip, shoulders, and knee are affected the patient experiences severe pain in these areas as well as in the eyes. If left untreated or improperly treated, patients will experience difficulty in the expansion of chest as the disease progresses to the ribs. Stooping, fatigue, weight-loss, loss of appetite, bowel inflammation and eye inflammation are the other symptoms usually seen as the diseases progresses to the chronic stage.
The treatment of AS aims to manage the condition by reducing the inflammation and arresting the progression of the disease.
Improper diet and activities of the parents are the root cause of this disease and there is no complete cure for it. But we can give a better life for AS patients without causing any serious side effects such as in steroid therapy.
AS signs and symptoms resemble “Vata” diseases (arthritis group) and Ayurveda has a clear edge in dealing with these conditions with internal and external medications. Vata is vitiated by the Kapha and causes the obstruction of the channels and Vata accumulated in the channels increases and manifests as different forms of inflammation. Vata exhibits different signs when it is located in different tissues and as genetic disposition cannot be managed, the symptoms and signs become severe as the general health of the patient deteriorates. In the elevated Vata conditions, immunity is decreased and chances of repeated infections are high.
Ayurvedic treatment of Ankylosing spondylitis
Treatment modalities use medications to reduce inflammation and to stop the progression of the disease while physical therapy and exercise will help to reduce joint stiffness and support their movement. Internal medicines to improve immunity and physical strength are also selectively administered.
Please note, this does not constitute professional medical advice, but only seeks to create awareness about the availability of a parallel medical stream which has a successful track record in managing AS for decades, if not centuries.
Depending on the stage of the disease and the physician’s assessment of various factors, one or more of the following Ayurvedic preparations and therapies are used to treat AS.
Dhanwantharam Kashyam, Maha Rasnadi Kashayam, Punarnavadi Kashayam, Vidaryadi Kashayam, Nirgundyadi Kashayam, Rasnadi Kasahaym.
Balarishta, Dhawanthararishta, Dasamularishta, Lohasava, Draksharishta, Aswagandharishta.
Yogaraja Guggulu, Kaisore Guggulu, Lakshadi Guggulu, Sudarsanam Tablet, Vettumaran Tablet
Kshirabala 101, Dhanwantharam 101, Bala Tailam
Oils for external application
Ketakimooladi Tailam, Sahacharadi Tailam
Dhanya Swedam, Patrapodala Swedam, Shashtika Pinda Swedam, Virecahana, Vasti, Pizhichil, Dhara.
Vegetarian diet during the treatment. Avoid dairy products, pickles, spicy foods.
Moderate exercises and yoga. Yoga Asanas can be picked depending on the age and the general conditions of the patient. Customized packages to address the individual needs are more working in our experience.
How to seek Ayurvedic treatment?
Patients should contact a professional Ayurvedic expert with a proven history of successfully treating ankylosing spondylitis. Once they decide to go the Ayurvedic way to manage their condition, they are advised to strictly follow the instructions of the doctor in terms of dosage, diet and exercises.