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Ankylosing Spondylitis

A type of arthritis that affects principally the spine, is scientifically called ankylosing spondylitis, it is a very painful and chronic condition of spinal injury cause due to a fusion of the disc in the spinal cord. Strangely, it is in large part more prevalent in males and also seems to choose a choice age group, generally men somewhere from twenty to forty years of age, though why this particular demographic group has the highest incidence of this type is not known, the reasons could be that this age group is very active physically, however it does not deduct from the fact that this is a very painful and persistent condition. Varying in its development over the years with stages of progression and times of apparent remission in its severity, resembling many rheumatic diseases in its development process. The sudden occurrence of severe back pain is a typical symptom of its onset in an individual, these back pains usually arrive around early morning and after a period in bed, and the individual has a sensation of stiffness in the body. In the course of a day, there is a lessening of the pain and for all practical purposes the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis seem to disappear during the daytime. These stiffness and the associated pains of ankylosing spondylitis are not always acute of severe in all cases and the pain associated with the onset of this disease seems to vary from one individual to another.

In its first stage, other symptoms like eye infection or acute pain in the heel often comes along with the general severe back pain. As the disease progresses, however, there is a deposition of minerals around the previously inflamed tissue in the spinal region as vertebrae are fused together in an unnatural posture often termed medically with the nickname “bamboo spine” and the fusion of these disparate elements of the spine is what causes acute pain, this complete fusion can be halted and a “bamboo spine” does not necessarily develop in all cases of ankylosing spondylitis. In itself it may not be life threatening, but the general pain and stiffness in the spine caused by this disease is not a very pleasant experience. In severe and chronic cases acute ankylosing spondylitis may cause the entire spinal region to stiffen along its length, this causes a very big discomfort and hinders natural movement as persons thus affected may not be able to twist and turn normally, and their ability to even bend down in a simple manner may be greatly hindered.

Ankylosing spondylitis can be seen as some sort of an autoimmune disease as it is known in chronic cases and in its early onset it resembles many autoimmune diseases. That is the body's frontline defense or its own immune system apparently destroys the soft tissue lining the spinal column and attacks the soft tissues covering the joints in a fit of self-destruction. Research indicates a high probability of inheritance of this particular illness through genetic analysis of people with this disease, thus ankylosing spondylitis is passed on through the genes and a repeat of the disease along the blood line is a strong possibility. It can however be avoided by choosing healthy lifestyles and diet in those individuals already known to susceptible to this type of ankylosing spondylitis. In the end though as in most non-lethal genetically passed disease and in other types of arthritis affecting the human race. A simple lifestyle choice and a solid natural and healthy diet can go a long way in avoiding its worst effects, dietary requirements aside, special allergies to different food groups should be checked in a thorough way in order to avoid the worst symptoms of the disease.

There is also always the possibility the improperly diagnosed and unnoticed infections via certain pathogenic parasites, different types of infective fungi, infection via agents such as Candida and certain pathogenic bacteria are also known to cause the onset of this disease and should never be ruled out, these pathogens besides this danger may also pass on other symptoms like leaky gut syndrome, an unpleasant and irregular affliction that can be caused by the excessive consumption of alcoholic spirits, through the improper utilization of common drugs such as aspirin TM, abuse of anti pyretic such s ibuprofen, the unmonitored use of various steroids, un-prescribed self administration of antibiotics of all kinds, other leading causes are the decrease in the production of digestive enzymes, unnatural and unpleasant in the levels of acids in the stomach and a highly fatty diet can be other leading causes of this disease. If there are other conditions present, they may aggravate ankylosing spondylitis, for example: existing urinary tract and infections of the pulmonary system often aggravate the affects of the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. Symptomatic treatment and preferential and timely treatment to all affected areas can greatly reduce and alleviate the worst symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. That is simply to say, that the treatment procedure has to have a holistic approach.

Supplements and herbs

Herbal based supplements such as the herbal essence of evening primrose oil contains a potent anti-inflammatory chemical and can be used for topical application as well as a dietary supplement. Essential fatty acids such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is one of the many essential fatty acids and is not manufactured naturally in the human body can be used for the treatment of acute pain in the joints and to alleviate the worst symptoms of inflammation. The fat-soluble vitamin vitamin E or tocopherol can also be effectively used in the alleviation of the worst symptoms of this disease. The metallic element selenium in ionic form has potent antioxidant properties and is an important co-factor in the activation and internal usage of vitamins in the body.

Among the water based vitamins ascorbic acid or vitamin C used by the body in great volumes to fight inflammation and is an important component of the body's self-repair system, for example in collagen structure. Along with vitamin C all flavonoids such as the important bioflavonoids act together in a coupled action with vitamin C and the inclusion of one should always followed by the inclusion of the other. In this fight against ankylosing spondylitis the importance of mineral ions cannot be overemphasized at all, minerals such as calcium and magnesium are structural components of the bones, the very building materials needed if the body were to carry out a successful self repair, other ions like silica taken as a supplement in water-soluble and preferably in vegetal form or more easily as a silica gel is known to be an effective defense against the loss of bone mass. In the cases where acute ankylosing spondylitis has set in the water-based pyridoxine vitamin B6 is almost always lacking in sufficient quantities to be useful in the body . These deficiency of this particular vitamin gets especially more pronounced in individuals whose body's lack the enzymes necessary to convert vitamin B6 to an active form or into the co-factor pyridoxal-5-phosphate(P-5-P), therefore in those cases where, the body lacks such conversion enzymes a similar substitute of this active co-factor called P-5-P has to substituted in the stead of the vitamin B6, this is an essential substance and is an important supplement.

In all cases of acute pain cause due to the chronic and persistent symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis and especially in cases where the pain is dreadful and inflammation has set in to a grave degree a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory relieving substance called bromelain (it is found in pineapple) can be taken in the the diet as a dietary supplement. This substance called bromelain is a naturally occurring enzyme and has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties and which must be one of the most effective natural substances against inflammation caused due to acute cases of ankylosing spondylitis. Bromelain is the most efficient and acts in the speediest way only when it is taken by itself and not along with food. The enzyme cannot take effective action if it does not act on an empty stomach.

Asides from such substances a variety of herbal-based substances reduce the effects of inflammation on the body and greatly aid in the improvement of general circulation. They even have anti-pyretic and pain relieving functions and can greatly aid in lessening pain in the affected region, a good example is eucalyptus oil, which when used as topical ointment on the affected region and in use as a rubbing lotion can actually increase the blood flow to such areas. Bringing on profound and soothing warmth that greatly makes the pain in the area bearable, eucalyptus oil is also a great help against the general stiffness felt in the body due to ankylosing spondylitis. For the general treatment of injured and strained muscles and in general muscle injuries it is advisable to take a tbsp the herbal horsetail juice, horsetail juice can also be used as a tincture by mixing about 15-20 drops of the essence to a glass of water, this can alleviate pain when applied topically. These herbal extract of horsetail juice can also easily aid in the reduction of an inflamed bowel and will readily help out in remedying some of the aches bought on by chronic pain in the lower back, which comes on in most cases with the onset of ankylosing spondylitis. The roots of another herb are an effective protection against aching joints; a good example is devil's claw root, which is quite efficient against pain in the lower regions of the spine. Some of the qualities that devil's claw root has are proven antirheumatic, antiarthritic and anti-inflammatory abilities. In order to make sufficient use of devil's root extract 30 drops in a glass of water applied locally as a tincture will rid most pains in the affected area, the regimen being to apply it topically about twice in a day directly onto the affected parts. The tincture can also be used as a dietary supplement and it has the unique ability of cleansing the blood of impurities, consumption in the diet should be about 1 tbsp a day along with food. The juice of the dandelion flower mixed in a tincture that contains about 20 drops in a glass with water can also be used as a topical ointment when applied about thrice per day for a period of three weeks. Another anti-inflammatory and pain relieving herb is white willow, which should be consumed, in a tinctured solution containing about 20 drops in water thrice a day.

Additional things you may do

Keeping the spinal column supple and exercised is very important even while suffering the pains of ankylosing spondylitis. Movement in the spines is important for the reason that stiffness should not be allowed to set in, because if the spine is stiffened and unmovable for a prolonged period of time, it becomes almost next to impossible to get any sort of motion out of it. The maintenance of the proper form and curvature of the spine is important and can be preventing from skewing to one side by the simple expedient of laying oneself, once a day with the belly towards the bottom and moving equally in both directions, if some discomfort is found with this position it can be modified in ways; one of which is by placing a cushion under the chest for support. A hard and robust bed or surface is to be preferred for this exercise, because a firmer surface support the spine better, then a soft bed would. Another activity that must be avoided is the lifting and hoisting of heavy things, and hard physical labor, which may cause too much strain to the spinal column. By changing and innovating on positions, and constant but slow movements the spine is maintained in a supple state. Even the wardrobe needs to be looked at, it is preferable to wear shoes that are rubber soled and have elasticity with bounce.

Aerobic exercises should not be avoided but the options of which kind are limited, swimming is excellent time spent exercising the spine in a supportive media, backstroke swimming if practiced well is very good, other sport such as volley ball and cross country skiing may provide the needed amount of general exercise without putting too much of a strain on the spine. Cycling is at once both relaxing and easy to do and is an excellent choice of exercise. Outdoor activities like walking, jogging and exposure to the sunlight are good bets at keeping spinal movement at the optimum, other choices like steam and hot baths and occasional massage therapy relax the muscles in the torso and are a great benefit. Seemingly simple exercise has to be done, it is important to do stretching exercises at least twice daily for about half an hour. Exercises such as yoga coupled with breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques aid in strengthening the lungs and are to be pursued not only for a positive mind but also for its mild movements, which are the best ways of maintaining the suppleness in the spine. One can also try other relaxation methods such as singing and shouting while moving, exercising both the lungs and the body. A professional and thorough chiropractic treatment is very essential and such treatments make sure that the spine is still mobile even after a person has not exercised. Other massaging techniques especially those that utilize hot and cold compresses provide relief from the pain in the spine and can stave off the effects of stiffness in the joints, such massaging sessions using compresses should be used as often as possible as they are proven to be have a very high success rate in mitigating the pain caused by stiffness in the spines. If the hot and cold compressing techniques are unaffordable for you, it is quite easy to improvise on them and thus reap its benefits in alleviating pain, for about twenty minutes each day, have a partner apply a towel soaked in hot water for about three minutes onto the affected area, let the towel remain for about three minutes and alternate using a towel soaked in cold water, for about a minute, by altering the exposure to hot and cold repeatedly, pain can be lessened to a remarkable degree.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg 3 times a day
  • Vitamin E, with mixed tocopherols & selenium, 200 mcg
  • Evening primrose oil, two capsules 500 mg 3 times a day
  • Bromelain, 2,000 mg between meals two times a day

Comments

From Kathy Young - Sep-20-2014
D-Flame by Now Brand is a good, natural anti-inflammatory. I have ankylosing spondylitis and it does help some with inflammation and pain.
From R.B. - 2010
I gave my son bromelain and his mouth broke out in ulcers. We didn't know what was causing them so stopped everything for a while. I started taking it and my mouth broke out as well so I do not recommend it.
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